REP­TILE SPOT­LIGHT: The kingspin ball python is the prod­uct of three dif­fer­ent morphs; find out more about this in­trigu­ing crea­ture.

(AUGACEPHALUS JUNODI)

Animal Scene - - CONTENTS - NYZA FAUSTINE HO; ad­di­tional text and edit­ing by CHAR­LENE BOBIS Pho­tos by JEF­FREY C. LIM

While not com­mon in the pet trade, par­tic­u­larly lo­cally, the Augacephalus junodi is con­sid­ered at­trac­tive be­cause of the strik­ing star­burst pat­tern on their cara­pace and golden brown col­oration con­trasted with black. Habi­tat: The nat­u­ral habi­tat of the Augacephalus junodi is the dry area and sa­van­nahs of Africa. Since the nat­u­ral habi­tat of the Augacephalus junodi is nat­u­rally dry, it is ideal to du­pli­cate these con­di­tions when it is in cap­tiv­ity.

It weaves good webs that en­able them to cre­ate bur­rows even in sand. They are able to with­stand ex­treme dry­ness of the en­vi­ron­ment and can ac­tu­ally sur­vive without wa­ter as long as they are able to feed. Not all taran­tu­las can with­stand ex­treme heat and dry­ness, and this makes the Augacephalus junodi a re­ally hardy species to keep. In cap­tiv­ity, a wa­ter dish is also pro­vided in the en­clo­sure so the spec­i­men is not too de­hy­drated even if the sub­strate dries up com­pletely; this also sta­bi­lizes hu­mid­ity in the en­clo­sure.

Breed­ing: The breed­ing age for the Golden ba­boon taran­tula is usu­ally around 1-2 years of age. Males ma­ture ear­lier than fe­males, and ma­tu­rity for the male or ul­ti­mate molt can even oc­cur ear­lier.

Fe­males will lay egg sacs; each of these can con­tain about 20-80 eggs that will even­tu­ally be­come spi­der­lings af­ter the “eggs with legs” stage. A fe­male can lay up to 2 egg sacs af­ter a sin­gle mat­ing as long as she does not molt af­ter lay­ing the first one and keeps the male’s sperm stored un­til the next eggs are ready to be fer­til­ized. Spi­der­lings be­gin feed­ing af­ter their sec­ond molt. Con­ser­va­tion sta­tus: There is very lit­tle data re­gard­ing the con­ser­va­tion sta­tus of the Augacephalus junodi be­cause very lit­tle re­search has been done on this par­tic­u­lar species. There is in­suf­fi­cient data on their num­bers in their nat­u­ral habi­tat. The main pur­pose of col­lect­ing the Augacephalus junodi in the wild is only for the in­ter­na­tional pet trade since no other re­search is go­ing on re­gard­ing this species. (Spec­i­men cred­its to Ram Glo­ria)

Nyza Ho sat down with ex­pe­ri­enced taran­tula keeper Clif­ford Kaw, who has Augacephalus junodi in his col­lec­tion. Q: What makes the Augacephalus junodi an in­ter­est­ing pet spec­i­men for A: you? The Augacephalus junodi is a very beau­ti­ful­go­lden brown taran­tula, color. es­pe­cially with its Q: What is the be­hav­ior of the Augacephalus junodi that makes it stand out from all other ba­boon species? A:

It is less ag­gres­sive than other ba­boon taran­tu­las in the in­ver­te­brate keep­ing hobby Q:

What char­ac­ter­is­tic of the Augacephalus junodi made you want to keep it? A:

Its color is golden brown and the size is not too small not too big, which is just right for the en­clo­sure I have for it. Q: Please de­scribe the hous­ing of the Augacephalus junodi in your col­lec­tion. A:

Just plain co­co­peat with a wa­ter dish and a hide that is made of clay and coco pot [a pot made of molded co­co­peat; this is avail­able in the mar­ket] for their hide. Q:

How well has the Augacephalus junodi adapted to the Philip­pine cli­mate? Are there any spe­cial re­quire­ments for the Augacephalus junodi to sur­vive lo­cally? A:

Augacephalus junodi [adapted] eas­ily in our coun­try’s cli­mate. I don’t use any other spe­cial hous­ing for [it]; I just use a glass en­clo­sure with co­co­peat as a sb­strate and a wa­ter dish to keep the spec­i­men hy­drated without fre­quent mist­ing. Q:

How well does the Augacephalus junodi grow in the Philip­pines? Does the lo­cal cli­mate af­fect the growth of

this taran­tula? A:

The growth of Augacephalus junodi is the same [as that of] other ba­boon [taran­tu­las], which is ac­tu­ally quite fast con­sid­er­ing their max­i­mum size. Yes [the lo­cal cli­mate af­fects their growth] but I think some of the other taran­tu­las are not af­fected by it too much and their growth rate is just based on the fre­quency of their feed­ing. Q:

Can the Augacephalus junodi be bred suc­cess­fully lo­cally? A:

Maybe, since there have been sev­eral suc­cess­ful breed­ing at­tempts of ba­boons in the Philip­pines, but I haven’t tried breed­ing the A. junodi yet. Q:

Since ba­boon taran­tu­las are of­ten de­scribed as de­fen­sive, fast, or ag­gres­sive, please de­scribe your own Augacephalus junodi in terms of be­hav­ior, feed­ing re­sponse and threat re­sponse. A:

As for me, not all ba­boons are ag­gres­sive be­cause my Augacephalus junodi is not too ag­gres­sive or de­fen­sive; it just has a good feed­ing re­sponse. Dur­ing feed­ing, it also does not dis­play a threat pose or a de­fen­sive stance, so for me they are not de­fen­sive or ag­gres­sive, but they are surely very fast. Q:

Would you rec­om­mend the Augacephalus junodi as a first taran­tula for an aspiring taran­tula hob­by­ist? A: I sug­gest [that] the Augacephalus junodi… be kept by ex­pe­ri­enced and begin­ner hob­by­ists be­cause it is easy to take care of and it is a very beau­ti­ful species, though one should also be aware that they can be very fast when star­tled, but they are not very quick to bite. Q:

Have you ever been bit­ten by the Augacephalus junodi? A: No, I have never been bit­ten by Augacephalus junodi.

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