The Pterinochilus murinus story begins in 1897, when Mr. R. I. Pocock described a single female specimen in The British Museum, deposited by the intrepid Emin Pasha. The collection locality, Ugogo, refers to an area currently near the city of Dodoma in central Tanzania. Pocock described the specimen’s color as “a nearly uniform mouse-brown,” and noted in the “Museum…females of the same or of closely allied species from southern Kenya, from Mombasa and from the N.E. of Lake Victoria Nyanza.” Since description, color variants of P. murinus have been found across east Africa. Of these, the strikingly orange P. murinus from the Usambara Mountain region, Tanzania, has become by far the most commonly available. Over the past several years variants from other east African regions have been introduced, ranging from tan to “mouse-brown” to dark grey. Minor variations in carapace markings are sometimes evident.
The Tete, Mozambique lineage offered here is the what most refer to as the ‘brown color form’ (BCF). However, we wholly agree with arachnologist Danniella Sherwood that “color forms in the pet trade are problematic and arbitrary terms. How red does a spider need to be to be categorized as “RCF” and how dark for “DCF”? How close to the colour of the type specimen must “TCF” be and is that before or after the alcohol browned it? I just hope we are able to convince everyone to label their wild stock by given locality, as that is a lot better than what has been going on for the last 20 years.”
Thus, please purchase and pass this species on with its collection locality, as ‘Pterinochilus murinus “Tete, Mozambique.” Given the distribution of P. murinus across many countries in Africa, future localities are sure to produce different shades of brown.
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