Heterothele gabonensis • 3/4 – 1″


Heterothele Gabonensis (Gabon blue dwarf), captive bred, native to Gabon tropical, equatorial forest. An unassuming dwarf theraphosid with a considerable hobbyist following. Recommended for all experience levels.

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In contrast to south and east Africa, only a handful of hobby African species come from central and west Africa. Heterothele gabonensis (Lucas, 1858) [1] is the only hobby species from Gabon.

In 1900, Pocock revisited west African species held in the British Museum, including H. gabonensis. According to Pocock, probably the same species was collected in neighboring Equatorial Guinea (French Congo at the time) along the Benito River (now called Mbini River) [2]. Climate here is tropical equatorial, with long rainy seasons interrupted by fewer months of drier winter weather. From late November to March, dry winter northeast trade winds, known as the Harmattan, bring dust and sand from the Sahara.

Possibly more useful to the hobbyist is the 2008 research report of Cedrik Grenier, who made observations of H. gabonenesis in Gabon’s Lopé National Park. Grenier describes H. gabonensis favoring abundant exposed roots and cavities of the Uapaca tree (Uapaca sp.). As to the natural behavior of H. gabonensis he writes:

“Many groups, small or more important, were observed, living on the same tree. However no retreat revealed more than one mature spider, thus classifying them more tolerant than favourable for the community. These groups of two to twenty individuals count male mature, female mature with or without egg sac, juvenile and spiderling.”

Grenier also makes some fascinating observations of different ant species in relation to H. gabonensis. For the enthusiast it is a brief, must read [LINK].

The photo above shows one of the specimens for sale. Neither colorful nor imposing, H. Gabonensis remains dear to hobbyists. May the above information enrich your experience with them.

Spiderlings courtesy Taylor Baker.

[1] Lucas, H. (1858). Aptères. In: Thomson, J. (ed.) Voyage au Gabon. Archives Entomologiques de M. J. Thomson 2, 373-445.

[2] Pocock, R. I. (1900g). On the scorpions, pedipalps and spiders from tropical West-Africa, represented in the collection of the British Museum. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London 67(4, for 1899): 833-885, Pl. LV-LVIII. [published in April 1900, after Duncan, 1937].

Additional information

Weight 0.01 lbs
Dimensions 1 × 0.5 × 0.5 in