Ybyrapora diversipes must be one of the most colorful tarantulas currently available in the hobby. From the metallic green/blue base color to the red/pink stripe on the abdomen this is really a spider for people (like me) who appreciate really vibrant tarantulas. It’s little wonder their common name is the “Amazon Sapphire”.
Understandably such a beautiful species is in high demand. This can make Ybyrapora diversipes difficult to find, and expensive when you do. But if you’re lucky to stumble across a Ybyrapora diversipes then I would suggest snapping it up like there’s no tomorrow.
In this article I’m going to discuss my own experiences of rearing Ybyrapora diversipes, which has quickly become one of my top ten tarantulas. Let’s get cracking with this Ybyrapora diversipes care sheet…
As might be expected from the common name, Ybyrapora diversipes hails from tropical South America. It builds silken retreats on trees and in foliage in the humid Brazilian jungle, and is adept at climbing and hunting off the ground. In captivity this means that Ybyrapora diversipes should be treated as an arboreal species.
Until just a few years ago Ybyrapora diversipes was classified as an Avicularia tarantula, before scientists reclassified it into the Ybyrapora genus. This means that some (outdated) articles still refer to this species as Avicularia diversipes. Rest assured these are the same species; the Latin name simply needs updating.
The fact that these were once classified as an Avicularia species gives hints not just of their appearance but also their lifestyle.
Like their close relatives such as Caribena versicolor, these spiders have a distinct “fluffy” appearance that makes them undeniably cute. This, coupled with their amazing colors, makes them a tarantula species that even arachnophobes can learn to love!
Cages & Housing
Great disagreement exists on social media and discussion forums about how best to keep and rear Ybyrapora diversipes. With multiple specimens currently in my collection allow me to outline what has worked well for me (and also what hasn’t).
The number one factor that can lead to success or failure with Ybyrapora diversipes is ventilation.
A damp, unventilated cage is the fastest route to a dead spider. It seems that Ybyrapora diversipes is particularly sensitive to such conditions so no matter what cage you choose for your specimen you’ll want to ensure good air flow.
Cages for Spiderlings & Juveniles
As Ybyrapora diversipes seems so sensitive to environmental conditions I use larger cages than I do for many other tarantula species.
I am rearing my tiny spiderlings in 16oz deli cups, when I typically start most other species off in far smaller tubs. Larger containers provide a wider range of conditions than can be accomplished in the tiny vials favored by many keepers.
My deli cups are made from clear plastic for visibility, with a close-fitting lid to prevent escape. Each tub has had numerous tiny holes added around the top to facilitate proper ventilation.
The substrate is largely kept dry, though I very occasionally and very lightly mist the inner wall of each tub, so the spiderlings can drink from the droplets. However this is done in moderation and the containers are permitted to dry out properly between applications.
Be aware that Ybyrapora diversipes can be surprisingly fast-moving. This isn’t quite at the level of some other species like Neoholothele incei or Tapinauchenius violaceus but all the same you need to take care when opening the container.
This is another reason why I believe slightly larger containers work well here, as they give you just a little more time to close the lid if your Ybyrapora diversipes bolts for freedom.
Cages for Large Specimens
As spiderlings grow they are gradually rehoused a number of times into larger cages. Fortunately, as spiderlings turn into juveniles, and juveniles grow into adults, they seem to become ever less sensitive to environmental conditions.
This isn’t to say you should allow care standards to drop, but more to say that if you can get your Ybyrapora diversipes spiderlings through their first few moults then your odds of rearing your tarantula to maturity start to increase considerably.
The Amazon Sapphire Pinktoe tarantula can reach an adult legspan of around 5”, making a mid-size tarantula. Once again, however, their speed should be a consideration.
Additionally some keepers have found their specimen to be quite defensive.
This means that cages where you don’t have to remove the whole lid for feeding and watering can make your life a little easier. Exo Terra and ReptiZoo glass terrariums are excellent for this.
- Front opening door with locking latch for easy cleaning or feeding your reptile
- Compact design mini tank with escape-proof door locks to prevent escape
- The full screen top ventilation allows UVB and infrared penetration
I would suggest a cage measuring roughly 20cm x 20cm x 30cm tall as an absolute minimum for Ybyrapora diversipes. Larger cages will permit a wider range of environmental conditions so I’d be tempted to upgrade to a cage of 30cm x 30cm x 30cm if you can afford it.
Heating & Temperature
The Amazon Sapphire Pinktoe thrives at “typical” temperatures recommended for other tarantulas.
The shelf on which my Ybyrapora diversipes specimens are kept maintains a pretty even 22 – 24 degrees Celsius (72 – 75 degrees Fahrenheit), though this may drop as low as 20 degrees C (68 degrees F) on a cold winter night, or rise up to around 26 degrees C (79 degrees F) at the height of summer.
Remember that warmer temperatures (within reason) typically result in a spider that eats more and grows more quickly.
Water & Humidity
While a “moist” environment is generally recommended against for Ybyrapora diversipes it is best practise to offer an open water bowl to larger specimens.
Smaller specimens should receive a very occasional light misting so they can drink from the water droplets.
Be careful, however, not to overdo the spraying and ensure proper ventilation allows the cage to rapidly dry out again afterwards.
A tarantula that feels safe and secure is far less likely to cause you difficulties during tank maintenance. For example, if you’re unlucky enough to startle your Ybyrapora diversipes then they are more likely to retreat back to their silken hide than to bolt straight out of the cage. This assumes, however, that you give them the resources to build such a retreat in the first place.
A good starting point is one or more cylinders of cork bark.
- Create a naturalistic forest look in your terrarium
- Great for use as natural hiding places or shelters
- Safe for all reptiles, amphibians and arachnids
Choose your piece of bark carefully. It should be wide enough to allow your Ybyrapora diversipes to hide away within it. It should be long enough to permit your spider to sit within it, but short enough that there is enough clearance for your Amazon Sapphire to climb in at the top.
Place the cork bark securely into the cage, either vertically (my preference) or at a diagonal angle.
I try to replicate this even with my tiniest spiderlings; they’re all given suitably-sized pieces of cork bark.
In terms of substrate, I use coconut fibre which is excellent at absorbing excess moisture. There’s no need to add too much depth unless you’re experimenting with a bio-active setup as I have never found Ybyrapora diversipes burrowing, even as spiderlings.[amazon box=”B00JJST9QU”
As this species can be fast, defensive, and comes from the jungle, adding some artificial plants can not only look attractive but provide further places to hide.
Food & Feeding
Like so many other South American tarantulas, Ybyrapora diversipes has a healthy appetite and can grow quite rapidly when given optimal conditions.
My spiderlings are fed roughly twice a week, while this slowly expands to once-per-week for larger specimens. Be aware that the more you feed your tarantula the faster it will grow, which can be useful for adjusting growth rates to ensure that males and females mature at the right time.
I have found that my Ybyrapora diversipes rarely venture down to the floor of their cage, so feeder insects more likely to climb are probably best in my opinion. For this reason locusts and roaches can work well.
Unless you manually feed your tarantulas with tongs, dropping insects straight onto their web, then super (morio) worms, mealworms and the like are likely to disappear from view beneath the substrate before your spider senses them.
Handling & Temperament
Ybyrapora diversipes is not a tarantula suitable for handling. Their defensive nature and fast movements mean these are really just a species to enjoy from behind glass.
When it comes to moving your Ybyrapora diversipes, such as for a rehousing, be sure to get properly prepared. Clear plastic catch cups can be useful, as can a decor-free room in case you need to catch an escaped specimen!
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