The Montserrat tarantula (Cyrtopholis femoralis) was first described 100 years ago, from a single male individual. But, even today, pickings are slim for detailed observations about the creature. In 2012, researchers described instances of the tarantula becoming food for the mountain chicken frog on Montserrat.
"In forested areas of the island," that research team wrote, "these tarantulas can be seen walking on the leaf litter or hidden in their terrestrial burrows, waiting to ambush passing prey. Although abundant, the biology of C. femoralis is poorly known, and there is very little detailed data on this species' natural history and ecology."
We do know that while the tarantula does bite but it's not a threat to people. "If a frog can kill and eat a tarantula, they cannot be so bad!" Garcia told the BBC.
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The Chester Zoo scientists hope to provide the kind of detailed data that will take some of the mystery out of the creature.
"The data we've been able to gather and knowledge we've developed over the last three years since the adults first arrived has led us to this first-ever successful, recorded breeding," said Garcia, "and hopefully these tiny tarantulas will uncover more secrets about the behavior, reproduction and life cycle of the species."
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