In May 2018, I spent 10 days visiting the Island of Martinique to study the lifestyle of Caribena versicolor and Acanthoscurria antillensis.
Because of the mountainous environment around the volcano Montagne Peleee Martinique has a more humid climate in the north of the island . With regard to the tarantulas of the island one can roughly differentiate it into 2 parts:
North of the capital Fort de France you will find Caribena versicolor and south Acanthosurria antillensis
I started the journey in the village Grand`Riviere in the north of the island. There are beautiful hiking trails along the coast, which you can follow through the forest to Anse Coulouvre.
In Martinique Caribena versicolor is called "Matoutou falaise" and is well known to the inhabitants and also displayed on the signs along the hiking trails . This tarantula is protected in Martinique and may not be collected and / or exported.
The signs sometimes serve as a shelter for the animals themselves. Under the roof of this one I found a female protecting with an eggsac.
The beginning of the route to Anse Coulouvre is easy to do, later it goes through narrow paths steadily up and down.
On the way the paths lead along the coast and from time to time beautiful views open up to the sea with the adjacent habitat of the spiders.
Typical Habitat of Caribena versicolor
On many trees I found specimens of Anolis roquet, which are also likely to be one of the main prey of the spiders.
In the forest, the the Spiders are not in large numbers to find you have to do a lot of searching to spot one which has built ist web on one of the trees.
It is interesting that I was able to find numerous empty, but completely intact retreats, It seems that at least the juvenile animals change their location more often.
In this picture you can see a retreat which probably served only temporarily as such.
Here you can see the shelter of a Caribena versicolor on a typical tree.
mature female of Caribena versicolor
The adult spiders prefer trees that have as many cracks , roots etc. as possible in their structure.
Another typical tree with a mature Caribena versicolor
Habitat and hiding place of Caribena versicolor
Directly in the forest I could mostly only find adult animals. Juveniles and spiderlings were more likely to be found on suitable areas next to the rainforest.
I was very successful at a banana plantation which was right next to an area with large trees.
The webs of the spiders can be found between the leaf axils, which provide ideal conditions for the animals.
Here are juvenile Caribena versicolor
I was also able to find small spiderlings just Walking freely
This one had a good lunch at the Moment i spotted it
A video from the banana plantation
Some spiders can also be found quite unexpectedly, this one lived in a metal post !
However , the best conditions for the observation of Caribena versicolor you have on untreated land directly near the rainforest. Here the spiders can be found in various places.
Alone at my accommodation I had several specimens under the roof as well as in the open kitchen
Caribena versicolor living under the roof
Spider in the kitchen
In these plants of the species Heliconia you can almost always find Caribena versicolor
Here I was fortunate to find a female with cocoon, another adult female and an adult male in close proximity.
The male was barely able to walk and was very emaciated about 3 months after the end of the mating season
Here is a full Video of my search for Caribena versicolor. It would be nice to also follow my YouTube Channel
South of the capital it is possible to find Acanthoscurria antillensis. The south is a bit drier and, above all, much more densely populated. The spiders are easy to find but especially in inhabited areas the numerous watch dogs are a bit disturbing because they are not used to pedestrians and sometimes aggressive.
Acanthosurria antillensis digs deep burrows on embankments or just into the ground. At the moment of my visit the spiders were apparently all freshly molted and were usually easy to lure out.
Habitat of Acanthoscurria antillensis
Here you can see the entrance to a burrow under the root of the tree on the right side
I was able to lure this specimen out but the dogs of the area didn`t like it at all ...
This is a typical site where Acanthoscurria antillensis is found. Frequently, several animals were to be found at a distance of only a few meters to each other.
Typical round burrow entrance with some silk
Acanthoscurria antillensis is a rather attractive tarantula due to its size and ist coloring.