Sexing a Tarantula from a Molt – L. itabunae

It’s a girl!

A recent L. itabunea molt. The Epigastric furrow is circled in read, and the spermatheca (female sex organ) is outlined in blue.

A recent L. itabunae molt. The Epigastric furrow is circled in red, and the spermatheca (female sex organ) is outlined in blue.

At least, it’s looking that way.

After many ill-fated attempts in which I clumsily destroyed molts in an effort to sex a tarantula, I finally got one that I didn’t accidentally shred. When I noticed my Lasiodora itabunae laying down a molting mat the other night, I hoped that I might be able to get some good snapshots of its molting process. Well, not only did I get a few cool photos, but I was actually able to remove the molt within minutes of it molting (and before it dried out or was destroyed).

After removing the exuvia, I laid it out on a plate and sprayed down the the twist of abdominal skin to make it more pliable. Using a couple tooth picks, I carefully untwisted the thin tissue and spread it out so that I could clearly see the two sets of book lungs and, what I hoped, would be the female sex organs.

After I identified what I though what I thought was the spermatheca, or the female sex organ that serves as a receptacle for sperm, I posted the photo on arachnoboards to have others chime in. So far, the consensus is that it is a lovely young lady.

This is a particularly nice surprise as my itabunae has become one of my favorite Ts, and they are not particularly common in the hobby. This is definitely one of the species I would eventually love to breed, so having a female is a HUGE win for me.

I’ve got a couple more unsexed Ts getting ready to molt, and I hope to sex a few more soon. With any luck, I’ll have a few more females.

My L. itabunae laying down a molting mat.

My L. itabunae laying down a molting mat.

My L. itabunae on its back in the process of molting.

My L. itabunae on its back in the process of molting.

My L. itabunae just moments after fully casting off its old exoskeleton.

My L. itabunae just moments after fully casting off its old exoskeleton.

My L. itabunae stretching out a day after its molt.

My L. itabunae stretching out a day after its molt.

 

 

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3 thoughts on “Sexing a Tarantula from a Molt – L. itabunae

  1. Hi i just got a burgandy goliath birdeating tarantula( t-stirmi) how do i tell if it is a male or female? And how do i tell if it is a captive bred or wild caught specimen?

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