At a Glance
|Old World or New World||New World|
|Moisture Dependent||Yes (although adaptable)|
|Max Size||3.5″ for females|
For several years after getting serious into the hobby, the mantra “bigger is better” informed all of my purchases. During these formative years, I ignored any species that was saddled with the unfortunate moniker of “dwarf” as I amassed a collection of the largest species the hobby had to offer. While perusing vendor lists for my next purchase, I repeatedly turned my nose up to any species that didn’t reach at least 5” DLS. At the time, I thought the idea of keeping a tarantula that wasn’t much larger than spiders I could find in my basement was kind of ridiculous.
Luckily, my ignorance didn’t last too long, as another keeper finally convinced me that I needed to add the small, feisty little species amicably referred to as the “Pumpkin Patch” to my collection. He explained that what this unique little spider lacked in mass, it more than made up for with a lively personality, gorgeous coloration, and a brutal feeding response. I received my first trio of tiny slings in August of 2014, and I was immediately enamored with this “pygmy” species. Since then, it has become one of my favorites, and in March of 2017, it became the first species that I successfully paired.
As the common name implies, the Pumpkin patch hails from the country of Colombia. Although this country has four seasons, they remain relatively consistent due to its proximity to the equator. Temperatures here tend to be warmer closer to the coast and cooler at the higher elevations inland. Columbia experiences a minimum temperature of 66.7℉ (19.2℃) with high temps reaching 87℉ (29℃). It experiences a drier season from December to March and a rainy season from April to May.
As a result, the Hapalopus sp. Colombia does well at normal room temperatures, which for most of us is upper 60s to mid-80 Fahrenheit (or around 20 – 29 Celsius). My first three specimens were kept between 68 and 72° F during the winter and between 72 and 80° F during the summer for the first few years I had them. Now, they are kept in the mid to upper 70s throughout the year. Even when kept at temps in the 60s, mine ate and grew quite well.
Many care sheets have this species listed as a “dwarf” tarantula, which is a bit misleading. There are actually two very similar Hapalopus species sold in the hobby; the Hapalopus species Colombian “large” and the Hapalopus species Colombian “Klein” or “Small.” Females of the “large” variant actually reach a max size of around 3.5-4” (8.9-10 cm), which would make it a bit too big to be a true dwarf. The “Klein” (German for “small”) on the other hand, reaches a max size of 2-2.5” (5-6.35 cm), which would make it a dwarf. At this time, the sp. “Klein” appears to be much less prevalent in the hobby.
Furthermore, there has been some confusion over the years surrounding the name of this spider. In the United States, this species is sold as Hapalopus sp. Colombia “Large.” However, overseas a seemingly identical species is sold under the name Hapalopus formosus. Although there is speculation that these two spiders are the same species, it has never been scientifically proven that the hobby form is indeed H. formosus. Until this theory is explored and settled through taxonomic study, it’s important to keep the two species separated to avoid potentially mixing two different species.