Poecilotheria formosa 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Arthropoda Arachnida Araneae Theraphosidae

Scientific Name: Poecilotheria formosa
Species Authority: Pocock, 1899
Common Name(s):
English Beautiful Parachute Spider, Finely Formed Parachute Spider
Taxonomic Notes: The description of the species is based only on female specimens and the male is yet to be discovered and described. Taxonomy of this species is not very clear due to lack of information from recent reports.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B1ab(i,ii,iii)+2ab(i,ii,iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-01-01
Assessor(s): Molur, S., Siliwal, M. & Daniel, B.A.
Reviewer(s): Spector, S. & Mason, T. (Terrestrial Invertebrates Red List Authority)
The species is recorded from only three sites in two areas of the highly degraded Eastern Ghats. The habitat where the species occurs is completely degraded due to lopping for firewood and cutting for timber. The species is highly restricted in its extent of occurrence (less than 5,000 km²) and area of occupancy (less than 500 km²) with past and continuing decline in extent, area and quality of habitat. The population is additionally threatened by human interference in the form of persecution, collection for pet trade and other developmental activities.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Poecilotheria formosa is endemic to the southern Eastern Ghats between Salem and Tirupathi in southern India; reported only from three locations, altitude of less than 1,000 m. The extent of occurrence encompassing known and inferred distribution is less than 5,000 km², while the area of occupancy is less than 500 km² and could be even less than 100 km² due to extensive loss of habitat. In Andhra Pradesh: Renigunta station (Smith and Kirk 2001); in Tamil Nadu: Kadiampatti, Mullapuram in Salem District (Pocock 1900a,b)
Countries occurrence:
India (Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu)
Estimated area of occupancy (AOO) - km2: 0-500
Upper elevation limit (metres): 1000
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Population information is not available. Although reported from three localities these reports are nearly a hundred years old. The locations are severely fragmented. No surveys have been conducted in these areas to establish the status, but considering the species to be closely related to other Poecilotheria species, their behaviours and ecology, we assume that the species has declined due to loss of habitat and degradation in quality of habitat in the Eastern Ghats.
Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Forests in these areas are of dry deciduous type with few patches of moist forests. No information is available on this species from the wild in last hundred years except for information on trade.
Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Habitat loss and degradation are major threats in the reported and inferred localities of the species. It is likely that in many localities the species would have gone locally extinct due to complete deforestation, logging of wood, forest fire and development activities. Given the habitat threats and restricted distribution, collection for international pet trade from the few remaining populations is an additional pressure on the extant populations.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: This species has not been reported from any protected area. The species requires protection at the national level by being included in the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act. It is also important that this species and all other Poecilotheria species from India and Sri Lanka are included under the CITES Appendix II to safeguard them from trade.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.5. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
suitability: Suitable  
1. Forest -> 1.9. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Montane
suitability: Suitable  
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.3. Artificial/Terrestrial - Plantations
suitability: Marginal  
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.6. Artificial/Terrestrial - Subtropical/Tropical Heavily Degraded Former Forest
suitability: Marginal  
1. Land/water protection -> 1.1. Site/area protection
3. Species management -> 3.1. Species management -> 3.1.1. Harvest management
3. Species management -> 3.1. Species management -> 3.1.2. Trade management
3. Species management -> 3.4. Ex-situ conservation -> 3.4.1. Captive breeding/artificial propagation
4. Education & awareness -> 4.1. Formal education
4. Education & awareness -> 4.3. Awareness & communications
5. Law & policy -> 5.1. Legislation -> 5.1.1. International level
5. Law & policy -> 5.1. Legislation -> 5.1.2. National level
5. Law & policy -> 5.1. Legislation -> 5.1.3. Sub-national level
6. Livelihood, economic & other incentives -> 6.1. Linked enterprises & livelihood alternatives

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Occur in at least one PA:No
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
1. Residential & commercial development -> 1.1. Housing & urban areas
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

5. Biological resource use -> 5.1. Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals -> 5.1.1. Intentional use (species is the target)
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

5. Biological resource use -> 5.1. Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals -> 5.1.3. Persecution/control
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.1. Species mortality

5. Biological resource use -> 5.2. Gathering terrestrial plants -> 5.2.4. Motivation Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

5. Biological resource use -> 5.3. Logging & wood harvesting -> 5.3.5. Motivation Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

7. Natural system modifications -> 7.1. Fire & fire suppression -> 7.1.3. Trend Unknown/Unrecorded
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

1. Research -> 1.1. Taxonomy
1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.3. Life history & ecology
1. Research -> 1.5. Threats
1. Research -> 1.6. Actions
2. Conservation Planning -> 2.3. Harvest & Trade Management Plan
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends
3. Monitoring -> 3.2. Harvest level trends
3. Monitoring -> 3.3. Trade trends

♦  Pets/display animals, horticulture
 Local : ✓   National : ✓  International : ✓ 

Bibliography [top]

IUCN. 2008. 2008 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Available at: (Accessed: 5 October 2008).

Molur, S. and Siliwal, M. 2004. Common names of South Asian theraphosid spiders (Araneae: Theraphosidae). Zoos’ Print Journal 19(10): 1657-1662.

Pocock, R.I. 1900b. Great Indian spiders. The genus Poecilotheria: its habits, history and species. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 13: 121-133 (reprint of 1899).

Pocock, R.I. 1900. The fauna of British India, including Ceylon and Burma. Arachnida. London.

Smith, A.M. and Kirk, P. 2001. A Field Guide on the Theraphosid Spiders of Indian and Sri Lanka particularly the Genus Poecilotheria. (unpublished).

WILD 2006. Conservation Status of Tarantulas in India with Implications of Harvest for International Trade. Report submitted to Rufford Small Grant Programme, UK, 63pp.

Citation: Molur, S., Siliwal, M. & Daniel, B.A. 2008. Poecilotheria formosa. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T63561A12691712. . Downloaded on 28 November 2015.
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