Megaphobema robustum (Colombian giant red leg), captive bred. A medium-large, boldly colored, New World species from the floodplains of Colombia. Recommended for intermediate-level keepers and above.
Los Llanos (The Plains) is a vast grassy floodplain east of the Andes, extending from the Republic of Colombia, near Bogatá, northeast into Venezuela. When Ausserer described Megaphobema robustum in 1875, he reported the locality as “Llanos. St. Fé de Bogota.” Santa Fe de Bogatá refers to Colombia’s capital, Bogatá, nestled in the Andes at 8660 ft., looming over a mile above the western edge of Los Llanos. Not the type locality, Bogatá orients us to southwestern Llanos, the actual type locality. Indeed, field work confirms southwestern Llanos, elevation 1000 ft., as home to M. robustum. [link]
Contrary to many web accounts, M. robustum is not a rainforest inhabitant. Los Llanos in Colombia host mixed treed and treeless savanna, with grass and sedge adapted to the degree of annual flooding. Nearer to the Andes, elevation increases (Llanos Altos), resulting in less flooding and more trees. These areas harbor M. robustum.
Away from the Andes, elevation decreases and flooding increases. Lower elevations (Llanos Bajos) are mostly treeless. Tributaries of the Orinoco River drain the entire Llanos. Wet and dry seasons are distinct. This photo shows the Orinoco during the dry season.
M. robustum is slightly less drought tolerant than most neotropical tarantulas–not as much as Theraphosa, about as much as Xenesthis and Pamphobeteus. For such a strikingly colored species, availability has always been somewhat erratic. Possibly a care requirement (water balance?) is being overlooked. Hopefully the above will help keepers with captive lineage. We recommend M. robustum for hobbyists of intermediate-level experience and above.
 A. Ausserer (1875). Zweiter Beitrag zur Kenntniss der Arachniden-Familie der Territelariae Thorell (Mygalidae Autor). Verhandlungen der Kaiserlich-Königlichen Zoologisch-Botanischen Gesellschaft in Wien 25: 125-206.
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