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Chinese bird spider
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Arachnida
Order: Araneae
Suborder: Mygalomorphae
Family: Theraphosidae
Subfamily: Ornithoctoninae
Genus: Haplopelma
Simon, 1892

H. hainanum
H. schmidti

3 species

Chinese bird spider is an English name given to several species of old-world tarantulas which are found in China and Vietnam. The spider, also known in English as the earth tiger, is currently classified in the genus Haplopelma. Previously, different species have been variously classified as Ornithoctonus huwena, (虎紋捕鳥蛛 hǔ wén bǔ nǐao zhū, tiger striped bird capturing spider), Selenocosmia huwena and Haplopelma hainanum ("Hai nan" refers to Hainan Island). The binomial name Haplopelma schmidti may turn out to have precedence; the latter name is used for a spider found in Vietnam that may belong to the same species. This article treats H. schmidti as a separate species.

The Chinese bird spider is a large species, with a typical legspan of up to 7 inches. It lives in the tropical rain forests of southern China and Vietnam, where it builds and lives in burrows up to nearly 1 metre deep, emerging to capture food. The bird spider preys on numerous small insects and other creatures, such as cockroaches, crickets and mice.

The Chinese bird spider is a rather aggressive species, and can bite humans if disturbed. Its venom is the subject of much toxicology research, and while the effects of this spider's bite on man are not well documented it is frequently lethal in small doses to laboratory animals such as mice and rats. As a result, it is generally regarded as a highly venomous species. The venom is a complex neurotoxin, containing numerous compounds capable of blocking neurotransmitters. (See also: Spiders having medically significant venom.)[1]

There are several different species:

  • "H. huwenum", the golden earth tiger, is primarily found in mainland China (in Guangxi and Yunnan provincs). This spider is golden-brown in colour with transverse black stripes. It was synonymized with H. schmidti in 2008.
  • H. hainanum, the black earth tiger, is primarily found on Hainan Island, off the southeastern coast of China. As the name suggests, this spider's colouration ranges from dark brown to black.
  • H. schmidti is found in Vietnam. Haplopelma schmidti has transverse black and red stripes, i.e., "tiger stripes."

All three spiders (like tarantulas in general) are frequently kept by collectors and as pets; though the Chinese bird spiders have a reputation in the pet trade for being difficult to care for.


Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_bird_spider — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.

6 news items

Irish Times

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Irish Times

Irish Times
Tue, 25 Nov 2014 04:26:48 -0800

A new bird species has been discovered in Indonesia, proving that there are still a few new things under the sun. The observation is even more surprising given the “new” species was first spotted in the forests of Sulawesi 15 years ago. The Sulawesi ...

Gaston Gazette

Gaston Gazette
Tue, 15 Apr 2014 14:33:45 -0700

Reptile Passions will also carry a range of spiders, McMillan said, everything from the docile Chilean rose tarantula to the more aggressive Chinese bird spider or Vietnamese Tiger tarantula. “There is nothing dangerous here,” McMillan said. “We've got ...

Daily Star

Daily Star
Sun, 27 Oct 2013 22:34:17 -0700

Boo! All this friendly tarantula wants is a hug [GETTY IMAGES]. T is for Tarantulas. These hairy spiders can be lethal to humans but only because a bite can trigger toxic shock. One of the most aggressive is the Chinese Bird Spider, found in South-East ...
Comicbook.com (blog)
Thu, 14 Feb 2013 18:49:58 -0800

It's someone calling for Sheldon, saying Sheldon thinks he was bitten by a Chinese bird spider. An exasperated Amy tells the caller to put Sheldon on the phone, and she tells Sheldon that she drove over there yesterday for a brain tumor that turned out ...
Thu, 15 Mar 2012 12:54:37 -0700

The Brown Recluse Spider has been named the most dangerous spider to humans and for good reason. Even more dangerous than the infamous Black Widow, the Brown Recluse is typically light to medium brown in color but can range to a blackish gray.

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