Wednesday, February 24, 2016


I realized after my post yesterday that I singled out John Apple, Frank Somma and my bonus dad Joel Greenblatt as new/renewing U.S. members of the British Tarantula Society. I didn't mean to exclude anyone else that is supporting the great society across the pond. It's just that John and Frank are long-time spider fiend friends and both contributed a bit of info to the article Tom Patterson and I co-authored in the upcoming issue of the BTS Journal. It was on my mind that they've both finally signed up and I signed my stepdad up because he loves reading my Journal articles and edited issues.

As North American Coordinator of the BTS, I encourage all North Americans to join our ranks and have actively solicited memberships here and elsewhere. And I thank all who have. Unfortunately, the new member list inside each Journal issue drifted away from including the country of residence of non-UK members somewhere along the way. As I began to take over, I re-implemented the notation of country in parentheses following each name, and it will be so in every issue with me as editor.

SO ... all I can give you are the names from last issue and the upcoming issue (plus some from the issue before that where country was not designated but I recognized a few names), and welcome you on behalf of the entire BTS Committee and your fellow membership. I apologize to those I cannot single out who have also joined. You are only omitted from the following list because the country wasn't noted and I don't know your name. I personally appreciate everyone from Canada, Mexico or the United States that helps me represent the New World.

Cheers (in alphabetical order; U.S. unless otherwise noted) to: John Apple, Joshua Castillo, Jeanine Carbonaro, Simon Chen (CANADA), Ryan Christensen, Joel Greenblatt, Kiffnie Holt, Kyung Kim, Janet Mikolajczyk, David Napierala, Joe Nickerson, Thomas Schumacher, Ryan Serafin, Taylor Sierra Smith, Frank Somma, Syd Sussman, Ashley Wieczorek and Haley Yorke (CANADA). All of these people joined over the past six months or so. Thanks and welcome also to those who are current members - new or long-time - that I have not named.


I will BLOG live from the BTS Lectures all weekend long. Friday night is the party. Saturday afternoon and evening is the Lectures. Sunday morning is the Annual General Meeting (AGM), which is a Committee Meeting open to the full membership. I will be in Bristol all week and will send daily reports so you can get a feel of what happens at these incredible events. I already told John Apple to start saving for next February. I encourage many of you to do the same. If you have any interest in traveling to the UK for either the Feb/Mar Lectures or the May Exhibition feel free to email me at I'd be happy to answer any questions and assist your travel in any way.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

#106 - POPPIN' IN

How y'all been? Sorry I haven't been out to play much lately. Thought I'd pop in and give you a life dump. My quietness is partially because I was on the road for 23 nights in February. I know most of you don't give a shit about my gun stuff and that's all I was up to. I have another blog for that. However, it was one hell of a scenic road trip so I hope many of you have been following my @exoticfauna Instagram. I posted loads of pix from my 5000 mile epic road trip.

Even in retirement I still have some involvement in arachnoculture. As you know, that is primarily through The British Tarantula Society, which I encourage you all - once again - to become a member of. Welcome to new or renewing American members including John Apple, Frank Somma and my bonus dad Joel Greenblatt. The budget option is online Journal only, but if you can swing the $55 or so you can also get three print issues sent to your home that are edited and produced by yours truly. I am happy to report that I am tonight putting the finishing touches on my first issue as Editor - 31(1) March 2016. One of the articles features Heteropoda and is co-authored by Tom Patterson and I.

Before I leave the subject of the BTS I must add that I leave Sunday for the Annual Lectures. I'm not speaking this year and have Joel with me so I'll be able to chill and really enjoy the weekend's festivities. The night before drinks is always a meeting of the minds when it comes to world tarantulaculture, and the Lectures never disappoint. Then Sunday we have our Committee Meeting, which is the Annual General Meeting and is open to the membership at large. Joel and I are stopping in Dublin before we get to Bristol and I'll revisit both Guinness and the home of my tipple – Jameson's Distillery. Then it's off to Bristol and Serious Ink. Mark will be finishing my right sleeve while his apprentice daughter Brandon recolors the Encyocratella olivacea tattoo that's on the inside of my right calf. Day trips to Wales and London will follow before the weekend and the Lecture arrives.

Now that I don't use Faffbook (full disclosure: I actually do have a page for my new business and the necessary personal account to maintain it, but that is the account's sole purpose and I am not accepting/seeking friends. Sorry), I am posting pix to Instagram and also maintaining my high resolution galleries at SmugMug. I hope you visit my SmugMug account every now and again. You can even order prints if you choose to hang my photography on your wall.

Screen cap of my Tarantula in Terrarium gallery at SmugMug. 152 photos and counting ...

I've also recently updated my The Tarantula Bibliography a few times for February. The revision co-authored by Andrew M. Smith and I resulted in numerous changes, but nothing compared to the complete United States Aphonopelma revision published by friends Chris Hamilton and Brent Hendrixon along with Jason Bond. Plus there are a couple of miscellaneous new genera like Bistriopelma and Neoholothele.

Although I still keep and will breed Harpactira pulchripes, Monocentropus balfouri and Poecilotheria subfusca, the two final never-been-bred-yet projects are "Monocentropus lambertoni" and Avicularia sooretama. I recently posted pix of the adult pair of A. sooretama on IG and SmugMug and will also share below.

Adult female Avicularia sooretama. © Michael Jacobi
Mature male Avicularia sooretama. © Michael Jacobi
Mature male Avicularia sooretama. © Michael Jacobi

Anyone who has ready any of my articles on arboreal tarantula husbandry - in print or online - or even that has followed Kiss My Big Hairy Spider is well aware that I often use a "breeding area" type of set up to pair both theraphosids and araneomorphs. Much of this technique has been devoted to the mass production of Avicularia and Poecilotheria over the years. The adults are housed in customized cereal containers or gallon jars depending on size and gender. Once it's time for the spiders to bump uglies both individual containers are placed inside a much larger tub. Generally, I allow them to settle in and feed and then only release the male so he can sniff about for a few days unmolested. The female is then fed again and extra food left in the breeding arena. A day or two later I open her enclosure too. They are free to mix and mingle as their schedule allows.

In the case of the pair of Avicularia sooretama, the male stayed in his gallon jar too long and had to be coaxed out. He then had free run of the place for a week or so. Even before I opened the female's nano ExoTerra terrarium I knew that she wasn't likely to leave her home. She has a very thick and secure tube sock in her terrarium and there's no reason for her to roam. I eventually tickled her out and removed both enclosures from the large "breeding arena" tub. I placed the live plant and cork bark pieces from the female's terrarium in one corner and put the terrarium light on the top of the breeding tub once I shut the lid. Then I remembered that I had a tub of terrarium plants in my living room that were removed from the enclosures of spiders long sold. I had a big tub of plants being rehabilitated a bit for possible reuse. So I decided I would just put them all in the "breeding arena" and the pair would end up with a communal mansion of sorts. That is where they remain.

The "breeding arena" A. sooretama mansion with two ExoTerra lamp fixtures.

The male likes to sit up here.

Inside. It's hard to see the cork in the back right corner, but that is where the female has built a new tube sock.

Close-up of the male Avicularia sooretama.

As for the other project – "Monocentropus lambertoni" – I should remind you that in an article in the BTS Journal two issues or so ago I questioned the validity of the ID of our hobby spider. Hence, the quotation marks. Regardless, I had a very rare male mature, and he bred with my only female many times. Unfortunately, she subsequently molted. However, the male is still alive even though he matured last May. He has successfully mated with her several more times, and I will try him again over the next few days. Sadly, he is destined for a spirit jar living on a shelf in England. I want this spider identified and he will be donated to African Theraphosidae specialist Richard Gallon. So, live or dead, he is traveling to Bristol with me. It is an easy decision to make only because I have a penultimate male here. If the mature male did not successfully transfer sperm at least I have a backup.

Well, that's it for now. Glad we could chat again. Please check out my @exoticfauna Instagram. There are loads of pix from Costa Rica, my road trip (Arches N.P., Grand Canyon N.P., Red Rock S.P./Sedona AZ, etc.), and starting Sunday there will be loads from my trip to the UK. I've lost count of how many times I've travelled to the UK since my first in 2006 - I think this will be 8 or 9? Bristol is my home away from home and the location of me mate Mark Pennell and his Serious Ink Tattoo Studio. Fucking stoked.

All the best, MJ