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Spider: Baboon

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Spider: Baboon

Unread postby DuQues » Wed Apr 26, 2006 3:40 pm

Golden brown baboon spider (Augacephalus breyeri)

Order: Araneae
Suborder: Orthognatha
Cohort: Hypodemata
Family: Theraphosidae
Subfamily: Selenocosmiinae
Group: Harpactireae
Genus: Augacephalus

Old name: Pterinochilus breyeri. Augacephalus is a new genus created for both species in 2002 by Richard Gallon.

Theraphosids are large, bulky and hairy with a body length of 13-90 mm long with the average spider measuring 20-50 mm. They have robust non-tapering legs and the pads or scopulae setae under the "feet" allow them to walk up the smoothest of surfaces - even glass.

The golden-brown baboon spider occurs from north-eastern South Africa northwards to Ethiopia.

These spiders are called baboon spiders due to their hairy appearance and the black scopulae pads on its "feet" resembling the pads on baboon feet. They are often incorrectly referred to as Tarantulas, a name usurped by the American species from the European wolf spider (family Lycosidae) Lycosa tarantula.

Description and habits
All South African species are terrestrial occurring in underground burrows or scrapes under rocks. The scrape is lined with thick silk, which is attached to the rock and keeps out troublesome insects such as ants. At night, the burrow dwellers can be seen with their front legs and eyes showing at the entrance of their burrows as they wait for unsuspecting prey.

Females usually stay close to their retreat while the males, once mature, roam freely looking for a mate. So the ones you will find roaming around are most likely to be male.

The most dramatic feature of these spiders is the black fangs that can exceed 6 mm in length and are parallel to each other (paraxial). The fangs are set into the jaws (chelicerae) that project forward (porrect). These spiders are black and hairy underneath (ventrally) except in the region of the fangs where the hair colour rnages from orange to a pink/red tinge. During an attack, the forelegs are raised in aggression, exposing the fangs and the orange and black colouration. Dorsally the colouration varies enormously ranging from black, various shades of brown and shades of copper and cinnamon. The abdomen can be plain or marked with spots or chevrons.

The eight eyes are arranged on the carapace on a central tubercle set back slightly from the anterior (front) edge of the carapace. This is called the clypeus and if there is no clypeus, one can be assured that the spider is not a theraphosid but another family instead (either Barychelidae, Cyrtauchenidae or Nemesiidae). All mygalomorphs have two pairs of ventral booklungs that operate on the principle of infusion rather than the more efficient system of inhalation. These spiders are therefore not very active and tire easily.

In other spider families, the males are easily recognised by the expanded ends of the palps where the sperm-carrying organ, the embolus, is situated. The expanded palp ends are not that noticeable in male theraphosids but males can also be recognised by the less bulky abdomen and by a tibial spur situated ventrally on the distal aspect of the tibia of the first pair of legs. The spur is not obvious as it is concealed amongst long hairs (setae) and rather resembles a pointed brush. The spur is used to restrain the females' fangs during copulation.

Propagation and Lifespan
The female lays 30 to 180 eggs but very few survive the 7 to 10 year maturity period. Unlike the true spiders, the araneomorphs, the mygalomorph females continue to moult after reaching maturity and can live for about 25 years. The males live for only about 6 months after maturity and therefore it is of no consequence should the females consume them.

Due to the slow maturity rate and high mortality of immatures, the collecting of baboon spiders is strongly discouraged, as this has led to the decimation of populations. They do not make ideal pets as they are inactive during the day and move around very little even at night. Once the novelty of scaring ones friends has worn off, most spiders in captivity eventually die of dehydration, stress from handling and sheer neglect.

As mentioned above, theraphosids are harmless to man although the bite is painful and mildly neurotoxic. If bitten, one will experience an intense burning pain in the region of the bite where two red blood spots will develop from the fang punctures. There will be no evidence of discolouration and swelling.

(Main) source: Iziko Museums of Cape Town
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Unread postby DuQues » Wed Apr 26, 2006 3:45 pm

Posted by etienne in the New Orpen Gate topic:
'Krugerpark Times vol 3 issue 2'

By Melissa Wray
In Kruger National Park

Things are looking positive for the relocation of the Orpen Gate, with seemingly only two stumbling blocks left in the path of the creation of a more streamlined visitor experience at the Orpen entrance to the Kruger National Park (KNP). On the cards for several years, the original plan of creating an entire new gate about 7km south of the existing gate has been transformed into the creation of two new entrances, now officially documented in the environmental impact assessment (EIA) scoping report.


One other project identified in the EIA that has to take place before construction begins will be the relocation of golden brown baboon spider burrows. An intensive search will be made in a 60 by 100 metre area, and all the burrows found will be relocated to help conserve this protected species. Total budget for the two gates and additional services comes to about R1.2 million, from environmental affairs poverty relief funds.
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Spiders: Newly discovered baboon spider

Unread postby Wild about cats » Tue Dec 12, 2006 7:14 pm

This is an article from the latest Kruger Park Times.

New Baboon Spider Discovered In Survey Of Kruger

They’re big and hairy and in need of conservation and are found in the Kruger National Park (KNP) – but they have double the normal number of legs. They are baboon spiders. Kruger is home to no less than seven different species of baboon spider, including a species that was only recently discovered by scientists and given its official name of Ceratogyrus paulseni last year.

The new species of baboon spider was discovered in a clearing in the mopane-acacia woodland near Letaba and has not yet been found anywhere else in Kruger, or the rest of the world. Despite the fact that the Kruger’s known species of baboon spider come from four different genera, they are hard for a layman to tell apart.

The newly discovered species does, however, have the one characteristic that allows it to be told apart from the other genera – it has a distinctive ‘horn’ on its back, which it shares with the more common horned baboon spider. The new baboon spider was first spotted during a 2003 spider survey of Kruger that forms part of the ongoing South African National Survey of Arachnids.

Arachnids are eight-legged animals that have jointed legs, and include spiders, scorpions, solifuges, ticks and mites amongst others. As a group spiders are predatory animals and are generally very successful, with more than 36,000 known species worldwide and many more unknown, but they have been little studied and mostly ignored in conservation efforts.

In order for conservation efforts to be successful, environmentalists need to know what that are dealing with, which has lead to the surveys of spiders in Kruger and the rest of the country. One of South Africa’s leading authorities on spiders is Dr Ansie Dippenaar-Schoeman from the Agricultural Research Council, Plant Protection Research Institute (ARC-PPRI).

She is heading up the survey of Kruger’s spiders, which mainly involves researchers conducting spider-collecting trips. On each trip, the researchers continue to find species that were not previously known to occur in the park, as well as species new to science although not all as spectacular to the layman as the new baboon spider.

At this point, there are over 220 known species of arachnids (not counting the ticks and mites) found in Kruger. The bulk of these are true spiders, with nine species of scorpions, seven pseudoscorpions and 18 different kinds of solifuges (sun spiders, roman spiders), two types of ‘daddylong legs’ harvestmen and a tailless whip scorpion species.

Prickly Pears And Spiders
Along with spider collecting trips, other spider research is currently ongoing in Kruger. Researcher Kyle Harris is looking at spiders in conjunction with one of Kruger’s most pressing problems – the invasion of the park by alien species. Prickly pears (Opuntia stricta) are one of the park’s biggest headaches in terms of invasive plants, with about 30,000 ha of land near Skukuza currently being invaded by the plant.

Two biological control agents have been released to try and quell the invasion in the park, but given the fact that seeds are capable of lying dormant for 15 years before germinating the prickly pear invasion is likely to plague Kruger for some time.

To try and monitor what effects the aliens are having on biodiversity, Kyle is looking at how many different kinds of spiders and beetles are found in pristine areas of the park compared to those that are not invaded, moderately invaded or heavily invaded by the prickly pear. Over the course of a year, he has collected beetles and spiders every two months in the different infestation types.

Kyle finds his subjects by digging two litre buckets into the ground and collecting all creepy crawlies that walk into these pitfall traps. He also collects the leaf litter lying on the ground in the different study areas and sieves it through a 5x5mm mesh screen, collecting all the bugs that fall through the mesh.

"...but they have double the normal number of legs."Line 2.
Just this puzles me. Are they still spiders then? With 16 legs? :shock: :shock: :shock:

Does anyone have any additional info?
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Unread postby African Storm » Wed Dec 13, 2006 10:16 am

Maybe it was named a spider because of it's body, not legs, and poison glands etc.
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Unread postby crencontre » Fri Nov 28, 2008 1:38 pm

Hi there would like to know if this is a baboon spider and if it is dangerous. Found it in our bath on wednesday released it back into the bush it had a red mouth
Thanks Cindy Bothasig Cape Town

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spider again

Unread postby crencontre » Fri Nov 28, 2008 3:25 pm

here is another pic of the spider in the bath need to know what it is and if dangerousImage??

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Unread postby Imberbe » Fri Nov 28, 2008 6:14 pm

Yes, it looks like a black Baboon Spider.

It has a painful, but not a dangerous bite.

The females tend to be sedentary, so it was possibly a male. They are active hunters, stalking about at night.

Good for you for releasing it! :clap:
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Unread postby ScorpionKing » Wed Dec 24, 2008 7:04 am

It's a mature male Harpactira sp. who was out looking for a female. Have a look at the front legs. From the photo you can see the tibial spurs which the male uses during courtship. The male hooks these spurs under the females fangs.

Our Theraphosids or "Baboon Spiders" are not particularly venomous. They do have large fangs which can cause a painful bite. Their venom causes bee sting like symptoms ie pain. There is one species called Harpactirella lightfooti which was reported to be highly venomous, however there is no physical evidence, research or doctors report to confirm this claim.
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Re: ID spider - very little info im afraid

Unread postby ScorpionKing » Wed Dec 24, 2008 7:16 am

Hi Dave
Hmmm... Male spiders develope a totally new outlook on life when the moult for the last time and become sexually mature. It's during this last stage that they turn up in strange places, places that are not "normal" for that Genera\ Family\ species. There is a spider by the name of Olios sp. that is Lime green, would sit on a wall head down, no silk but it very, very, very rarely sits in the open on a wall. However, males being males I cannot discount it.

It's impossible to identify this spider for sure, but if you put a gun to my head I'd go with Olios sp.

Kind regards
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Re: Spider id needed

Unread postby Boorgatspook » Tue Oct 20, 2009 8:48 am

Can someone please id this spider for me?



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Re: Spider id needed

Unread postby TheunsH » Tue Oct 20, 2009 9:25 am

BGS, I'm not an expert, but it looks like a Baboon spider to me, also known as a Tarantula outside South Africa? :hmz:

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Re: Spider id needed

Unread postby QBreed » Tue Oct 20, 2009 9:49 am

Agree with TheunsH, Baboon Spider
but more specificly(if I googled correctly)

Genus AUGACEPHALUS (starbust spiders)
This genus was described earlier this year (Gallon, 2002) and is endemic to Southern Africa. It is represented by two species that occur in the Northern and Eastern parts of South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe. The generic name refers to the prominent, radial markings on the carapace of the spiders.

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Re: Golden brown baboon spider (Augacephalus breyeri)

Unread postby ScorpionKing » Fri Apr 16, 2010 11:22 am

There has been a lot of debate around the relocation of Augacephalus breyri.
To be honest the reason why they are protected is because of the pet trade.
They are not endangered, threatened or rare.
Habitat destruction remains their major threat.
Exploitation by the pet trade has indicated that if these animals are not protected, their wild populations will be exploited and depleted for commercial gain.

There has been a story for the past few years that after these spiders reach sexual maturity, they lose their ability to excavate a burrow.
The idea revolves around small teeth-like projection on the chelicerae called the Rastellum.
This story is just that, a story.
Baboon spiders excavate their burrows using their fangs to loosen the substrate.
They do not have a rastellum.
After they moult into sexual maturity the males change their outlook on life completely and abandon their burrows to seek out females.
Females remain in their burrows and wait for males.
Males often stop feeding and have one thing on their minds.
They need to locate a female and mate before the die.

So... males leave their burrows and do not excavate another burrow.
Females however, remain in the burrows and after courtship, lay eggs.
After the young spiderlings disperse (males leave the burrow and make their own burrows near the females, females travel much further).
The sexually mature female will mate again next year, and the next).
She is capable of excavating a new burrow if necessary.

However... Outside of their burrows they are unprotected from predators and are indeed an easy meal for many animals.
Any area that is suitable for these spiders will already contain naturally occurring populations.
Relocating these spiders into an area with existing population’s results in a well fed population of existing spiders.
I doubt that any spider will survive into adulthood where there are existing populations.
If these spiders are relocated into an environment void of existing populations that all that is means is that area is not suitable for these spiders anyway.

Donald Strydom from the Hoedspruit reptile park would be a good person to contact regarding the removal and relocation of these spiders.
Donald, myself and other arachnologists have had many a conversation over the relocation of these spiders. Possible relocation strategies, recreating their burrow structures and the effects on existing populations.
One thing is for sure.
It's important to understand their behaviours, lifestyles and habitat requirements in order to appreciate the complexities regarding their relocation.

I know this doesn’t help you but it does provide some insight into this problem.

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Re: Golden brown baboon spider (Augacephalus breyeri)

Unread postby NickyG » Wed Jun 02, 2010 8:11 pm


Found this one night on my window sill - I stay in East Cape.

Found teh above on on a gravel road to Addo one night.

Any idea what they are - Im guessing "baboon" spiders, because they are taratulla like...
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Re: Spiders: Newly discovered baboon spider

Unread postby ross hawkins » Sun May 15, 2011 11:21 am

Hey there

Here's the actual document re the discovery of this new species along with a pic Nina :) ... Africa.pdf

Searched google with the scientific name n got the link above

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