DETROIT – Zookeepers are celebrating a "world first" after the first recorded breeding of a rare tarantula was successful.
Chester Zoo in England experienced the rare feat when around 200 Montserrat tarantulas hatched, bursting through the ground, making the zoo the first to achieve the process in captivity.
The tarantulas are native to the Caribbean island of Montserrat, but very little is known about them.
Curator of the zoo, Dr. Gerardo Garcia, offered some insight into the big news:
Breeding these tarantulas is a huge achievement for the team as very little is known about them. It’s taken a lot of patience and care to reach this point.
The data we’ve been able to gather and knowledge we’ve developed over the last three years since the adults first arrived has led us to this first ever successful, recorded breeding and hopefully these tiny tarantulas will uncover more secrets about the behavior, reproduction and life cycle of the species. We know that males have a very short life span when compared with females and gauging their sexual maturity to select the best possible time to put them together for mating, is vital to the breeding process. It’s successes like this which really highlight the work that zoos are doing behind-the-scenes to conserve a range of endangered species, including the smaller, less known species that contribute to the world’s biodiversity. Importantly, the skills and techniques the team has developed with this new breeding success will now be transferred to other threatened species.
The tarantulas were first formally described by science from a single male over 100 years ago.
The zoo hopes to learn about the rare species, which prior to their breeding, had never before been seen in zoos or in the wild.
We've succeeded in the first recorded breeding of the Montserrat tarantula...and there's 200 of them!https://t.co/oREYDhMn90
— Chester Zoo (@chesterzoo) August 12, 2016