Including the most recently described species, Poecilotheria rajaei (2012), India and Sri Lanka have a total of 14 Poecilotheria species. All or nearly all are considered endangered in the wild. Habitat loss, the pet trade*, and pesticide use are widely considered main threats . Poecilotheria rufilata was described in 1899 and was found in what at the time was called the Kingdom of Travancor, now encompassed by the state of Kerala.
Keeper expertise: advanced (see Stan Schultz’ The Tarantula Keeper’s Guide)
*We have imported all 13 commonly available Poecilotheria species since 2013. The same breeders have produced sacs regularly for us. With respect to demand in the US, possibly the largest world-wide market, we have not seen evidence to support the CITES committee claim (2000) that breeding cannot keep up with demands of the pet trade:
“All of the known species of Poecilotheria spp. have been successfully bred in captivity (Huff, Kirk, Verdez, pers. comm., 1999), however, not in numbers to keep up with the demand of the commercial pet trade. Additionally, because the gene pool of captive-reared adults is restricted, international exchange of live breeding adults is risky, and mortality rates can be high in specimens reaching maturity, it is likely that more wild-collected specimens will be required for the commercial pet trade.”
EU and US tarantula breeders have maintained captive lineages for decades, highly inbred, without evidence of genetic drift. Spiderlings offered on this page were captive bred in the United States.