The Blue Fang Skeleton Tarantula (Ephebopus cyanognathus) is an exciting species of the Ephebopus genus in the subfamily of Aviculariinae. Their natural habitat is in deep underground burrows that are often constructed with fallen flora and supported by a thick layer of silk spun out to the entrance. The names Blue Fang, Blue Fang Skeleton and Blue Fanged Tarantula came to rise because of the magnificent metallic blue fangs that they boast.
|Tarantula Information (for a more detailed Tarantula care review see Tarantula Care Sheets|
|Regions Found:||Brazil, French Guiana, Guyana and Suriname|
|Class:||Terrestrial. Likes to burrow|
|Longevity:||Slow growing and they live long in captivity|
|Adult Size:||10 to 13cm|
|Ephebopus cyanognathus Housing Requirements|
|Tarantula Housing:||Floor space is more important than height, a deep substrate should be provided for burrowing. A good retreat is required.|
|Special Requirements:||High humidity is critical|
|Breeding Ephebopus cyanognathus Tarantulas|
|Egg sac size:||80-110|
|Danger to Male:||Chances of sexual cannibalism are relatively low|
|Ephebopus cyanognathus Diet|
|Livefood insects such as crickets, locust, butter worms, meal worms, superworms, houseflies and cockroaches.|
|Recommended Pet Supplies for Ephebopus cyanognathus|
 Blue fang skeleton tarantula description
Spiderlings have a brilliant green abdomen, orange banded legs and magnificent blue chelicerae, hence the names. Females will keep their colours into adulthood and their fangs remain as intense as when they were spiderlings but sadly adult males become more brown and plain losing much of their vibrancy.
Tarantulas like Ephebopus cyanognathus in the genus Ephebopus are unusual in the fact they are specifically terrestrial, however are exceptionally analogous to many arboreal species. They are actually classified in the Aviculariinae subfamily like the popular Avicularia genus.
Blue Fangs will burrow and not surface very often, sometimes making a disappointing display pet however incredible they may be. When given the opportunity, they build the most stunning mountain-like homes by burrowing in the substrate and building it further above ground level. In the evening they are often seen sitting in the entrance at the mouth of their burrow waiting for prey to approach. As soon as they are disturbed, they will run haste to the depth of their burrow. Burrows can be as deep at 15-25 cm; leaves and other flora are used to line the burrow protecting the tarantula from underground forces. A small amount of webbing will be laid around the mouth of the burrow to catch and warn of any prey or predators that approach.
Just like other Ephebopus they are fairly defensive and a bit shy and skittish running very fast when small. Behaviour is comparable to Haplopelma and so certainly not a spider you should handle. Interestingly they have urticating hairs on their chelicerae rather than on their abdomen, flinging of urticating hairs from the mouth of their burrow with their pedipalps is a common defensive technique. They're pretty accurate with them as well!
 Housing, Heating and Climatespecies Ephebopus cyanognathus are relatively easy to keep. They are slow growers and have proven to be a hardy species, care is identical to the other members of the Ephebopus genus.
Ensure that you adhere to the specific needs of Ephebopus cyanognathus. It is important to keep the humidity high or this tarantula will not live very long. Try a mix of peatmoss with water until it holds a shape, this should provide the correct humidity levels. Bear in mind that the warmer you keep your tarantula, the higher its metabolic rate will be, the higher the humidity will be and the faster the substrate will dry out. Additional humidity can be provided by moist substrates and a misting bottle. You can provide some decoration to make the terrarium look prettier. At night temperatures change so ensure a temperature drop of at least 10Â°F, to give the tarantula a sense of time.
Spiderlings will generally be arboreal until they are of a size able to burrow in the substrate. They will climb, so a piece of cork bark would make a nice web anchor. They can be kept in small containers such as pill tubs and waxworm tubs slightly larger species can be kept in livefood tubs. Use moistened peatmoss or similar substrate to ensure the humidity levels are correct. Adult Ephebopus cyanognathus can be kept in converted aquariums and provided with adequate ventilation and a very deep moistened substrate (at least 25cm deep) to keep the humidity level high.
 Feeding Ephebopus cyanognathus
Just like other tarantulas, the Blue Fang Tarantula will eat insects, reptiles and small rodents up to their own size. Suitable insects include crickets, moths, beetle larvae (meal worms and superworms), houseflies and cockroaches. Although they may take on rodents and reptiles in the wild it is not recommended you feed them in captivity, for complications may arise such as a fatal bite by the food item itself.
When feeding livefoods, although it may be fun, try not to over challenge your Blue Fang by giving it food items that are too large. Stick with something about half the size of the tarantula and remove uneaten food items so they do not cause harm or stress. Spiders usually eat massive amounts post-moult until they are full, this is called power feeding. They will refuse food pre-moult or when ready to lay an egg sac. It usually takes about 1 week to 1 month for a Blue Fang to accept food after a moult, because of the skin and fang hardening process. You canâ€™t really over feed a tarantula, but this doesn't mean you should overdo it by giving it 50 crickets after a moult; the tarantula will probably end up killing them all and leaving dead ones uneaten. If this is the case then they should be removed to prevent bacteria and mould growth. The other factor is that a plump abdomen is more prone to rupture if this species falls from a height.
Ephebopus cyanognathus are sometimes troublesome to feed as they will spend a long time down in burrows and itâ€™s just not possible to know if a missing food item has been eaten or is rotting in the burrow. To encourage feeding try to drop the food items near to the tarantula and so that it lands on the web at the entrance to the burrow. Hopefully you will see the Blue Fang jump out and grab it.
 Breeding Ephebopus cyanognathus
All Ephebopus are fairly easy to breed. Males can often spend a week or two in the females company without being attacked or eaten. One or two couplings is usually enough to get a successful result. The egg sac size is small and often disappointing in quantity but extremely satisfying in appearance. Nymphs are typically boring and nothing more than eggs with legs, but from the first instar, Blue Fang Spiderlings are great looking specimens.
 Preparation for breedingspiderlings of this beautiful species. An adult female will usually moult every 14-18 months, and so mating should be done before the final 6 months of her cycle to ensure success. Mature males lose some body size and legs become long and spindly, this, in addition to the development of mating hooks and boxing gloves are an indication that he is mature. He will use these mating hooks to lift the female by her fangs during mating, the boxing gloves are the bulbs where he will store his sperm after creating a sperm web.
Before he is ready to mate the male will need to produce a sperm web, normally made within a couple of weeks of his maturing moult so keep an eye out if you are expecting this to happen. He will produce a hammock shaped web in a corner of his enclosure, usually above the ground rather than inside his burrow. He will then deposit his sperm in the web by a wriggling motion underneath it. To collect the sperm he then walks over the web hammock and if you look closely at his bulbs, you will see his embolus (a small pointed hook) going into the web and taking the sperm from the web. When he is finished with the sperm web, he will usually destroy it, and the sperm is safely stored in his boxing gloves until he finds a female.
 Introducing the male and female tarantulasburrow if she is hiding. This technique is to allow the male and female to sense each otherâ€™s presence and approach each other with caution, rather than having any unwanted fights.
He will now begin to act bizarrely, twitching and dipping his abdomen. Drumming is a common mating communication technique used by tarantulas, he will hit the substrate with his front legs and pedipalps, as he approaches the female, and she may reciprocate with some drumming of her own. They are both analysing each otherâ€™s response and deciding if itâ€™s safe to continue.
When their legs first touch, he will keep tapping and rubbing her legs until she goes into a threat-like posture. His mating hooks attempt to grab a hold of her fangs so that he can lift her up and expose her underside. He will now insert his embolus into her epigastric furrow and deposit his sperm. This process may take a long time, with this species it is not uncommon for breeders to leave the male and female together for up to two weeks at a time, and since they are relatively communal.
 Egg sac productionmoulted. She will need energy she can get for egg sac production, and this means feeding her all the food she will accept. A plumping abdomen is a good sign that she is ready to lay an egg sac and this can be expected around the 2 month mark after a successful mating.
The signs that she is ready to lay an egg sac are similar to an upcoming moult, which is excessive webbing and refusal of food. At this point you should consider taking a step back and letting nature take its course. Disturbing the female may have devastating results on all the hard work reaching this point, a stressed tarantula will destroy and eat what remains of her egg sac. E. cyanognathus are a species that will carry the egg sac around, rotating it and massaging it allowing the eggs to grow. As long as the female is carrying the egg sac, she should not be disturbed at all, any disturbance could result in the egg sac being eaten or destroyed. If a female drops the egg sac you may wish to recover it and rear it yourself. For more information on this please refer to the Tarantula Breeding article.
 Looking after blue fang spiderlingseggs should have grown into eggs with legs, and later into nymphs. Finally the nymphs will moult for the second time and out pops a spiderling. You need to take the egg sac from the mother when you suspect that nymphs have hatched. To do this try to isolate the female from the sac using a cup. Cannibalism is common in tarantulas but rare between nymphs, so separation is not really necessary until the nymphs have completed the moult into spiderlings. Spiderlings of E. cyanognathus will tolerate each otherâ€™s company for a further 2-3 moults however there will inevitably be some cannibalism. Separate the spiderlings into appropriate containers such as small spice storage jars, pill jars or waxworm tubs.
 After care for the female
It is possible for the female to lay a second egg sac so she must be fed well and left to rest. If a second egg sac is not produced she will probably moult and in which case lose what remains of the maleâ€™s sperm. She can now regain strength and prepare for another mating, or a happy retirement.