Butterfly Pavilion is leading the research on how to create a species survival plan for the Chilean Rose Hair Tarantula.
Since 1995, Butterfly Pavilion has bred and cared for domestic and exotic species of tarantula for our educational displays and programs. In 2010, with the creation of the Butterfly Pavilion Science and Conservation Branch, the need and importance of tarantula conservation became a focus for us and the impetus for creating our Captive Tarantula Breeding Program to not only support our conservation mission but the needs of the scientific community. Butterfly Pavilion’s Captive Tarantula Breeding Program concentrates on tarantula species that are over-collected for the animal trade, face becoming endangered, or are critically endangered due to over-collection and habitat loss.
Tarantulas fill an important ecological niche within the habitats where they occur allowing for a healthy balance in the ecosystem. Tarantulas are a very widespread Family of animals that occur on all but one continent and in almost every country in our world. These animals are important in controlling animal species numbers and are also a valuable food resource for humans. As ecosystems change and habitat is lost, tarantulas act as important environmental indicators of the health and status of the ecosystem. Recent work with tarantulas has also shown significant strides in the field of medicine; tarantula venom has been found to show promise in the treatment in disorders like Atrial Fibrillation and Muscular dystrophy. Currently little research is directed at this important group of arachnids, it is for this reason that Butterfly Pavilion believes that the Captive Tarantula Breeding Program is an innovative and important effort to better understand these integral animals.
Currently, we are working on tarantula growth studies and captive breeding as there is little known about tarantulas’ rate of growth and age of sexual maturity. We are also sharing these young with other breeders, providing them for use in higher education, and using them in educational programs to create an appreciation for their essential role in our environment and the need to conserve their natural habitats. Our ultimate goal is to educate the public about tarantulas and their important ecological niche while decreasing the number of tarantulas taken from the wild through our breeding efforts.