A tarantula has been captured on camera giving birth to an egg sac containing 1,700 spiderlings. The animal was shown secreting eggs in a web cushion suspended in a hole in the ground, and then wrapping the cushion in webbing. The web should protect the eggs from predators whilst they are being incubated, but the mother will need to protect her offspring from insects for at least two further months as they develop. The spiderlings will eventually emerge from the silk and establish themselves in new habitats.
The spider shown in the footage is a Nhandu chromatus Brazilian Red and White tarantula that is five years old. The video was shot by Marita Lorbieke, who hosts the Deadly Tarantula Girl YouTube channel. Lorbiecke has been breeding tarantulas since the 1990s and claims to have seen many successful egg sacs but none with anywhere close to the same number of spiderlings.
Tarantulas are notable for their sometimes large size and distinctive appearance, and by their sometimes deadly bites. They are found in South America, Mexico and the US. Lorbieke expressed joy and amazement at the video footage, which she said was incredible. The webbing net that the spider drew around her offspring should deter predatory insects from laying their own eggs in the spider’s sac so their larvae can devour the spiderlings when they hatch.