Mexican Fireleg Tarantula Fact File
The Mexican fireleg tarantula is named for the bright coloration of its legs which are red across the majority of them except the feet which are black.
Much of their day is spent in a burrow, either dug by themselves or taken over from a rodent or other small animal. At night they emerge to find invertebrates and small vertebrates on which they can feed.
Their range is solely restricted to Mexico where they live in a small area along the coastline.
Learn more about these amazing arachnids by reading on below.
Their name comes from the orange and black coloration of the adults. On the legs they are colored bright red which fades to orange and ends with black feet.
Atop the head are 8 small eyes which only provide the Mexican fireleg tarantula with an idea if their environment is light or dark.
As an arachnid their are four legs on either side of the body for a total of eight.
An adult will measure between 13-15cm (5-6in) long.
Mexican fireleg tarantulas are carnivores. Their diet includes a range of invertebrates and small vertebrates such as geckoes.
To subdue their prey they will seize it with their front limbs and deliver venom in to the body. This paralyzes the prey and also helps to begin the digestion. The tarantula will then suck up most of the prey and leave behind a ball of undigestiable body parts.
Mexican fireleg tarantulas are as their name suggests found solely in Mexico. Here they have a small range across a coastal area.
They make their home in areas of subtropical dry forest. This is located along the foothills of the Sierra Madre del Sur Mountains. They show a preference for areas with shade cover and healthy populations are not recorded outside this area.
Shelter is sought in a burrow which they may excavate on their own otherwise making use of burrows dug by other animals. The burrow is often just a small modification to a crevice under a large rock or tree root.
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Mating takes place from August to January which covers the end of the rainy season and the beginning of the dry.
During this period the males wander in to the open in hope they can find a female. After mating if the male does not escape his mate quick enough she may eat him.
Females produce a cocoon from which the young will emerge two months later. An egg sac may include as many as 200 spiderlings.
Young disperse from their mother in the late spring of summer.
Their growth occurs at a slower rate compared to larger tarantulas in South America.
Mexican fireleg tarantulas are active by night. They will wait by the entrance of their burrow waiting for prey to pass them.
Adult females undertake a yearly molt typically prior to the males emerging for the season.
Tarantulas are considered to have poor eyesight and instead find their prey by picking up vibrations hitting the hairs on their legs and body.
Predators and Threats
When threatened they may dislodge hairs from their legs and flick them at predators.
Mexican fireleg tarantulas are a popular species in the pet trade. While captive breeding is common a trade in poached specimens still exists.
Urbanization and the expansion of farms threatens their survival through reducing available habitat and fragmenting habitat.
Some populations have been affected through hurricanes impacting their habitat.
Males moving around during mating season are regularly hit by vehicles when crossing the road.
An exact estimate of their population has not been made but the high levels of habitat interference and harvesting has almost certainly impacted their population.
Mexican red knee tarantulas are also known by the alternative common names of Mexican rustleg tarantula and Guerrero Orange legs tarantula.
44martin88, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Viki, CC BY-SA 3.0 <http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/>, via Wikimedia Commons
gailhampshire from Cradley, Malvern, U.K, CC BY 2.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
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