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The Issues

Poecilotheria

There are currently five species of Poecilotheria listed as endangered under the Endangered Species Act of 1973. These species are:

 

Poecilotheria fasciata

Poecilotheria ornata

Poecilotheria smithi

Poecilotheria subfusca (highland and lowland)

Poecilotheria vittata

 

Due to their status, they cannot legally be sold or traded across state lines. This leaves many hobbyists unable to legally acquire these species, and with no way to know if or when they will become available in their states.

Poecilotheria subfusca "lowland"

Poecilotheria subfusca "lowland"

Photo: Emile Weber

Brazilian Endemic Species

The US hobby relies heavily on imports from Europe, where much more breeding is being done. As of 2018, Brazilian endemic species can no longer be imported into the US from any country, per the US Lacey Act.  

This means the Brazilian endemic spiders that entered the US prior and up to 2018 are all that we have. Without a conscious effort to sustain the US populations, we stand to slowly lose many species through a lack of breeding. This affects many well known species, including Acanthoscurria geniculata, Grammostola pulchra, and Nhandu chromatus, just to name a few.

Ybyrapora diversipes

Ybyrapora diversipes

Photo: Emile Weber

Our Response

Tracking

A database has been created to help keep track of the species owned in each state, and breeding projects in each state. This will help hobbyists connect for breeding loans, and will help to show where certain species may be needed. The information in the database is provided through self reporting surveys.

Gifting

Breeding loans and true gifts (not "freebies" included with paid orders or trades) of ESA Poecilotheria across state lines are allowed under the law. This means you may send your mature male spider to the owner of a mature female spider for the purpose of breeding, and receive half of the offspring, should the breeding be successful. You may also give these species to someone in another state as a gift.

More than 100 spiders have been given away by members of the Tarantula Sustainment Project since its creation in 2022, and that number will only continue to grow!

Who We Are

This project is being managed by Emile Weber, Erin Cashel, Christina Roberts (Wonderland Exotics), Amy Salinas (Fang Hub), Laikin Dantchenko, and Randall Lage (North Texas Tarantula Breeders). We are dedicated hobbyists with years of keeping and breeding experience, and care deeply for these animals. Our hope is to promote an awareness about where our spiders come from, and to encourage anyone considering stepping into the world of breeding to dive in!

Want to Hear More?
Poecilotheria ornata "eggs with legs"

Poecilotheria ornata "eggs with legs"

Photo: Emile Weber

Ephebopus uatuman

Ephebopus uatuman

Photo: Emile Weber

Tom Moran (Tom's Big Spiders) very kindly invited Emile and Erin to discuss the project in a podcast.  Click here to listen.

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