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From the pages of 'The British Tarantula Society Journal'

Spiderling? Juvenile? Sub-adult?

Paul Carpenter

I have in the past had a number of members ask me the difference between a spiderling, a juvenile and a sub-adult. Well, I've never really been able to give a firm answer. The main problem is everybody out there will have their own ideas on the subject, and some of those members that sell spiders have very strange ideas. In my own opinion, and I also sell spiders, you must be honest. Forget about price and call the spider a spiderling when it's small, a juvenile when it's half grown and sub-adult when it's almost full size. Anything else and you are being unfair. If you are the buyer and don't agree with the sellers judgement don't buy the spider.

The main problem to tackle is the growth rates of the different species. You can have a one-year-old Grammostola spatulata and a newly hatched Theraphosa blondi both of the same size. You can hardly describe a one year old spider as a spiderling, but if its legs can't all touch the edges of a twopence piece at the same time, then it's not a juvenile either. So what do we do? The only easy way out is to start using the word instar. Instar means moult, so if I was offering 5th instar G. spatulata spiderlings for sale, everyone would know that although they are small they have moulted five times. Equally I expect a T. blondi to have a leg span of at least 6 inches before it could be called a juvenile, so they again can be called 2nd, 3rd or 4th instar spiderlings.

If all the dealers would use this method then we would all know where we stand. It's very disappointing to send off for a juvenile Brachypelma smithi and receive something that can play football on your thumb-nail. But at the end of the day if you are not satisfied with what you have been sent, send it back. We are all protected by Consumer Rights. Just because it's a spider makes no difference, the seller must send you what he has advertised. If he hasn't then he must change it or give you your money back. I'm sure some of you out there will disagree with this, and may have better ideas, but remember to try and help those who are buying, not those who are selling.

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Last Updated: April 04, 2007