Poecilotheria metallica 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Arthropoda Arachnida Araneae Theraphosidae

Scientific Name: Poecilotheria metallica Pocock, 1899
Common Name(s):
English Peacock Tarantula, Gooty Tarantula, Metallic Tarantula, Peacock Parachute Spider, Salepurgu
Taxonomic Notes:

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered B1ab(iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2008
Date Assessed: 2008-01-01
Assessor(s): Molur, S., Daniel, B.A. & Siliwal, M.
Reviewer(s): Spector, S. & Mason, T. (Terrestrial Invertebrates Red List Authority)
The habitat where the species occurs is completely degraded due to lopping for firewood and cutting for timber. The habitat is under intense pressure from the surrounding villages as well as from insurgents who use forest resources for their existence and operations. It is assumed that the area of habitat has decreased over the years, but there is definitely a decline in quality of habitat for the spiders who seek cavities and deep crevices in old growth forests. This species is categorized as CR because of its range restricted to less than 100 km², single location and continuing decline in habitat quality.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:The species is found in a single location, which is severely fragmented. The extent of occurrence is less than 100 km2. India: Andhra Pradesh: Reserve forest between Nandyal and Giddalur.

The type description stated the species as occurring in Gooty, which is wrong since although the animal was caught in the railway timber yard in Gooty, the specimen could have come from the Eastern Ghats, which is at least 100 km away. Molur et al. (in press) rediscovered the species after 102 years in 2001 in a highly disturbed forest between Nandyal and Giddalur. Other surveys have not indicated the presence of this easily-identifiable species in any other locality. However, traders have put up this spider on sale after collecting some adults from the said area or nearby. Since information on their collection area is not available, it is presumed that they could have collected only from the nearby location and not from the protected Gundlabrahmeshwaram Wildlife Sanctuary.
Countries occurrence:
India (Jharkand, West Bengal)
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Population information is not available. Since it has been recorded to date from a single location (despite surveys conducted in adjacent areas by the Andhra Pradesh Forest Department ERM Laboratory in Srisailam), it is likely that the species has a very restricted extent of occurrence, is very rare and in a single location with declining habitat quality.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The species was found in a degraded dry deciduous forest. Nothing is known of its breeding biology. The lone male in captivity lived for 2 years having matured after 18 months. This seems to be the normal among males of this genus. Longevity of the female is unknown, but if it is similar to other species, then they could survive for 10-12 years reaching maturity at the age of 5-7 years.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Habitat loss and degradation are major threats. From our understanding, if the habitat is under similar pressure of degradation, the species might be extirpated from the known location in the near future. An additional threat to the species is collection by international pet traders, which could have an impact on the population. The two threats in tandem could result in the species’ extinction from the known location in the near future. An incident of smuggling was recorded in 2002 when two Europeans took a few specimens out of the country and advertised them for sale on the internet. There are also reports available of other such incidents since then.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: It is not known whether the species occurs in the Gundla Brahmeshwaram Wildlife Sanctuary, which is about 20 km from the known location. Surveys and the forest department’s cooperation are needed to establish this.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.5. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.6. Artificial/Terrestrial - Subtropical/Tropical Heavily Degraded Former Forest
2. Land/water management -> 2.1. Site/area 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

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
In-Place Species Management
In-Place Education
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 -> 5.2. 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

6. Human intrusions & disturbance -> 6.2. War, civil unrest & military exercises
♦ timing:Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 2. Species Stresses -> 2.2. Species disturbance

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 -> 1.6. Actions
2. Conservation Planning -> 2.2. Area-based Management Plan
2. Conservation Planning -> 2.3. Harvest & Trade Management Plan
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends
3. Monitoring -> 3.2. Harvest level trends

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

Bibliography [top]

IUCN. 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.

Molur, S., Daniel, B.A. & Siliwal, M. in press. Distribution and status of Poecilotheria metallica. Zoos’ Print Journal.

Pocock, R.I. 1899. Diagnoses of some new Indian arachnida. Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society 12: 744-753.

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., Daniel, B.A. & Siliwal, M. 2008. Poecilotheria metallica. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2008: e.T63563A12681959. . Downloaded on 15 August 2018.
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