Hapalopus sp. "Colombia" care guide
The brightly-colored pumpkin-patch tarantula (Hapalopus sp. ‘Colombia’) is a New World tropical “dwarf” species well-known for its appearance and feisty behavior. Its carapace and abdomen have strongly contrasted black and orange patterning, the abdomen resembling a little patch of pumpkins! They are a fast and skittish species but very rarely do they express aggressive behavior or choose to flick urticating hairs. H. sp. ‘Colombia’ is not formally described to science yet; the “large”/”groß” and “small”/”klein” forms may be two variants of the same species, or possibly even separate species. More research needs to be done on the classification, but they are likely synonymous with Hapalopus formosus.
second instar spiderling
As the name suggests, H. sp. ‘Colombia’ is reportedly native to the rainforests of Colombia in South America. Exact range of this species is not well-defined but it is rumored to be found along the Pacific coast of the country. This area is characterized by near-consistent average daily temps around 86°F and lows around 74°F. Rainfall varies a bit seasonally, as with most tropical regions, but is generally common. From our own research on this species, behavior in the wild is not well-documented. In captivity they appear to be at least semi-fossorial with heavy webbing tendencies.
Pumpkin patches are considered a dwarf tarantula, although there are reports of mature females reaching up to 5” diagonal leg span. Average size seems to be closer to 3.5-4”, with males usually maturing at about 2-2.5”. We set up all of our pumpkin patch adults in Exo Terra brand “Nano Tall” 8” x 8” x 12” enclosures (the “Nano Wide” also works just fine but we like to provide some height for the potential for the spider to build webs higher up), which we prefer due to their built-in cross-ventilation feature, double front-opening doors, locking mechanism, and clean look. The lid might pose an issue with tarantula claws getting stuck in the mesh, so consider replacing it with drilled acrylic or Plexiglas; the more ventilation holes the better! We hardscape with wood (cork bark, cholla wood, spider wood, driftwood, etc.), providing web anchor points and potential hides for the spider to choose from. Fill the enclosure with at least 3” of megamix tropical substrate, plant a few tropical vivarium plants (optional), and provide a water dish. We set up spiderlings from 3/4”-2.5” in our arboreal spiderling enclosure (or terrestrial spiderling enclosure) similarly.
At Marshall Arachnids, we strive to take each species’ natural history into account when designing and maintaining vivaria for our spiders. We provide our H. sp. ‘Colombia’ adults with a thermal gradient of about 72 to 82°F, with the top of the enclosure being the warmest. Being fossorial, this species will burrow down to escape heat. Nighttime temps drop no lower than 70°F. Each spider has the opportunity to thermoregulate by moving around the enclosure as they please. Every day we mist the webbing for a boost in humidity for live plants and to provide fresh water to drink from, and ensure the water dish is clean and full. For adults, we tong-feed appropriately-sized live dubia roaches or crickets every 7-14 days, but not on a set schedule. For slings, we offer food approximately every 5-7 days or as-needed. They are ravenous eaters, so take care not to overfeed this species. Pumpkin patches tend to seal themselves off with webbing when preparing to molt and may repeatedly refuse to eat. These spiders can safely go weeks on end without food, so do not be concerned if this is the case. Just continue to provide clean water regularly.
Fun Fact! There are several Hapalopus species from Central and South America. H. formosus is native to Colombia and very similar in appearance to H. sp. ‘Colombia’, but we might never know if these are indeed the same species as importation records and genetic purity are probably very unclear.