self Defense

    While living in a naturally populated environment, I wondered how Theraphosa blondi defended itself and what organisms these defenses were directed toward.  Rick West lent me an insightful explanation to this provocative inquiry. He told me "adult T. blondi are mainly predated by Pepsis heros (a giant Pompilid wasp) and parasitic phorid flies.  Other predators on the various stages of T. blondi include; Coatimundi, ocelot, owls, toads, other spiders, scorpions, centipedes and sphecid wasps" (West, 2008)

    Mr. West explains that although T. blondi will bite in defense, it’s venom is weak.  Theraphosa blondi also can turn and kick “Type III” urticating hairs off it’s abdomen when irritated.  "Type III urticating hairs are the longest and most penetrating of all six known urticating hairs types found on 95% of only the New World tarantula species. When urticating hairs land in the eyes or nose of a predator, it can cause severe irritation and even blindness.  On human skin, the mechanical burning and itching irritation effects from these penetrating hairs can last from weeks to months until the hairs are absorbed" (West, 2008).  The "modified setae" hairs are also used to produce a hissing sound as a defense mechanism (West, 2008).

    The well developed hairs on T. blondi are also used to detect potencial mates See Mating Habits (West, 2008).