Mexican FireLeg

Brachypelma boehmei
Brachypelma boehmei1.jpg
Adult female
CITES Appendix II (CITES)[2]
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Chelicerata
Class: Arachnida
Order: Araneae
Infraorder: Mygalomorphae
Family: Theraphosidae
Genus: Brachypelma
B. boehmei
Binomial name
Brachypelma boehmei
Schmidt & Klaas, 1993[3]

Mexican rustleg, Mexican fireleg

Brachypelma boehmei (also known as the Mexican fireleg,[4] or the Mexican rustleg tarantula) is a tarantula native to Mexico in Guerrero state.[5][failed verification] These long-lived tarantulas prefer burrowing and hiding in dry scrubland. As with all closely related tarantula species, they defend themselves with urticating hair when provoked.

Appearance and characteristics

Adult female

The Mexican fireleg resembles its better-known relative, the Mexican redknee tarantula (Brachypelma hamorii, formerly confused with Brachypelma smithi), in its dramatic orange and black coloration,[6] though the adults of the species range from 5 to 6 inches in size. This species of tarantula has a slower growth rate than many of the larger South American tarantula species. The black femora (upper legs) provide a dark dividing band between the rich orange color of the carapace and lower legs. Unlike the orange joints of Brachypelma hamorii, the legs of this species are a bright, fiery red on the patellae (or knees), fading gradually to a paler orange further down and tipped by black tarsi (or feet).[7] Although not particularly defensive, this species of spider can have a nervous temperament, where the spider can flick urticating hairs when it feels threatened.[8]

Range and habitat

The Mexican fireleg tarantula is native to Southern Mexico and sometimes western, where it is found along the central Pacific coast in western Guerrero State,[9] where it prefers dry scrubland, and is found in burrows, either self-made or abandoned rodent or lizard burrows, usually under rocks or fallen logs.


Tarantulas of this genus are long-lived, with males reaching maturity at seven to eight years, females at nine to ten. While males only live up to a year after their final molt, females may live for a further ten years. Sub-adults and adults molt at the end of the dry season (November to June), after which males begin their search for mating females. Mated females will produce an egg sac which, if successful, will generally hatch three to four weeks before the rainy season begins.[7] Mexican fireleg tarantulas tend to be active after dark, but can also occasionally be active during daylight, particularly in the morning and evening.

The Mexican fireleg tarantula (Brachypelma boehmei) in captivity at the Louisville Zoo


As with other Brachypelma species from the west coast of Mexico, this species makes a popular pet due to its docility and vivid colours, leading to its over-collection from the wild. The illegal pet trade, together with the ongoing destruction of natural habitat and its high mortality rate before sexual maturity, causes considerable concern for the future of this tarantula.[10]

To regulate its commercial trade across borders, this species has been listed on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES). In Mexico, permits are required to collect or remove any spider of the family of tarantulas, Theraphosidae, and the Mexican fireleg tarantula is now frequently bred in captivity, reducing the need to collect it from the wild.[7] Nevertheless, large numbers of tarantulas caught in the wild continue to be smuggled out of Mexico.[11]

As pets

This species is commonly kept as a pet and along with other members of its genus is regarded as suitable for beginners.

In captivity, adult Brachypelma boehmei usually feed on crickets, superworms, mealworms, and dubia roaches. Spiderlings will usually feed on pre-killed mealworms, pinhead crickets, baby dubia roaches, wingless fruit flies, and any other small insects which are not defensive.

When keeping tarantulas as a hobby, note that Brachypelma boehmei and many other tarantulas are endangered species and only captive-bred (farm-bred or home-bred) tarantulas rather than wild-caught ones should be kept.[citation needed]


  1. ^ Fukushima, C.; Mendoza, J.; West, R.; Longhorn, S.; Rivera Téllez, E.; Cooper, E.W.T.; Henriques, S.; Cardoso, P. (2019). "Brachypelma boehmei". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2019: e.T66081558A148681774. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2019-2.RLTS.T66081558A148681774.en. Retrieved 11 November 2021.
  2. ^ "Appendices | CITES". Retrieved 2022-01-14.
  3. ^ "Taxon details Brachypelma boehmei Schmidt & Klaas, 1993". World Spider Catalog. Natural History Museum Bern. Retrieved 2017-09-29.
  4. ^ "The Omaha Newspapers". Archived from the original on 2016-03-04. Retrieved 2008-06-26.
  5. ^ Map
  6. ^ "Brachypelma boehmei". November 2005. Retrieved July 21, 2011.
  7. ^ a b c Locht, A.; Yáñez, M. & Vázquez, I. (1999). "Distribution and natural history of Mexican species of Brachypelma and Brachypelmides (Theraphosidae, Theraphosinae) with morphological evidence to support their synonymy". The Journal of Arachnology. 27 (1): 196–200.
  8. ^ "Tarantula". November 2005. Archived from the original on September 12, 2008. Retrieved July 21, 2011.
  9. ^ West, R. (2005). "The Brachypelma of Mexico". Journal of the British Tarantula Society. 20 (4): 108–119.
  10. ^ West, R. (2008) Pers. comm.
  11. ^ Mendoza, J. & Francke, O. (2017). "Systematic revision of Brachypelma red-kneed tarantulas (Araneae: Theraphosidae), and the use of DNA barcodes to assist in the identification and conservation of CITES-listed species". Invertebrate Systematics. 31 (2): 157–179. doi:10.1071/IS16023. S2CID 89587966.

External links

This article incorporates text from the ARKive fact-file "Mexican rustleg tarantula" under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License and the GFDL.


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