Butterfly Pavilion is now a concentrated breeding site for the Chilean Rose Hair Tarantula (Grammostola rosea). This effort is part of a new research project called Safety Web for Arthropod Reproduction and Management (SWARM) focused on ensuring the maintenance of sustainable invertebrate populations in North American Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA)-accredited institutions.
SWARM is managed by the Terrestrial Invertebrate Taxon Advisory Group (TITAG) of the AZA. According to TITAG, invertebrate exhibits in most zoos house many of the same invertebrate species. However, many of these species are not being bred in captivity and are instead being collected from the wild. This makes them particularly vulnerable to extinction should populations suddenly drop.
Given Butterfly Pavilion’s special relationship with the Chilean Rose Hair, the same species as the zoo’s beloved “Rosie,” it was only natural that it offer to manage its captive breeding. Butterfly Pavilion has a total of 121 Chilean Rose Hairs on site and is in the process of breeding fifteen females with ten males.
“This project is great because it provides us an opportunity to breed Chilean Rose Hairs responsibly and contribute to the survival of the species,” said Sarah Triplett, Lead Zookeeper at Butterfly Pavilion. “This project is laying the groundwork for breeding other invertebrate species at Butterfly Pavilion.”
Since its founding, Butterfly Pavilion has bred and cared for domestic and exotic species of tarantula for educational displays and programs. For more information on Butterfly Pavilion’s conservation projects, visit www.butterflies.org/conservation.