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Rain frogs and a tarantula

Sunday, December 17, 2006 | 0 comments

Read the first part of this blog entry in Sugarcane and ruins.

Rain frog species in a tarantula's burrow.
Rain frog species in a tarantula's burrow.

Esme and I continued our walk on the road between the sugarcane fields. To our left there was a small ditch with some water. When I looked under a big piece of volcanic rock resting on a slope of the ditch, I saw something move inside a hole fast, and something jumping away.

A rain frog and a female Brachypelma vagans (Mexican red-rump tarantula).
A rain frog and a female Brachypelma vagans (Mexican red-rump tarantula).

The animal jumping away turned out to be a small rain frog, and the animal moving inside the hole an adult female Brachypelma vagans (Mexican red-rump tarantula). I have seen rain frogs sharing the burrow of a tarantula on an earlier walk, back then mistaking them for toads. And again I was wondering, are those frogs, because I soon saw more then one, actually sharing the habitat with the tarantula? If so, is their a mutual benefit?

Brachypelma vagans, adult female.
Brachypelma vagans, adult female.

The other frogs where hiding in the same place as the big female spider. I saw them jumping under her, and one was even hopping on top of this Mexican red rump tarantula. I carefully made the tarantula leave her hiding place. After a few attempts, she slowly moved out, and was clearly visible to Esme and me.

Brachypelma vagans, adult female.
Brachypelma vagans, adult female.

Because the big spider appeared extremely docile to me, and not skittish at all, I tried to let her walk on my hand. And after a few soft pushes with the fingers of my right hand, she stepped on my left hand without any problems.

Brachypelma vagans stepping on my hand.
Brachypelma vagans stepping on my hand.

In the mean time, the rain frogs started to leave the hiding place as well, climbing, and jumping around. I think I counted at least 5 of those little frogs.

Brachypelma vagans on my hand.
Brachypelma vagans on my hand.

After I had taken a few photos of the big spider on my hand, I returned the stones back into place with one hand, and then let the tarantula go off my hand so it could return to its hiding place. When she was finally gone from view, I removed the last traces that the stone had been moved.

Releasing a Brachypelma vagans.
Releasing a Brachypelma vagans.

Read the third part of this blog entry in The green butterfly.

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