Peruvian Pink Toe Tarantulas

This topic submitted by Erik, Randy, Nicole, Sean, MaryJane, Langston ( at 10:36 pm on 9/29/00. Additions were last made on Wednesday, May 7, 2014. Section: Cummins

INTRODUCTION: The Purpose of our student-generated lab is to study the behavioral andgrowth patterns of Peruvian Pink Toed Tarantulas. We plan to studythe differences in growth of two groups of the tarantulas, one groupbeing fed crickets that eat fish food, and another group being fedcrickets that eat dog food. We also plan to test the theory of Dyar’sconstant. Dyar’s constant indicates that a spider grows to 1.7 times itsprevious size every time it molts. We hypothesize that Dyar’s constantwill hold true for our spiders but their growth and behavior will besignificantly different due to the different food that the crickets we feedthem will eat. By doing this student-generated lab we hope to gain abetter understanding of Tarantulas, Peruvian Pink Toed in particular,and a better understanding of Dyar’s constant. Our lab is interestingand exciting because it provides an opportunity to learn aboutarachnids, and living things in general, using scientific data andtechniques. We hope to involve the class in this lab and have fun withour spiders!

MATERIALS AND METHODS: We have purchased sixty large/adult crickets. These crickets are livingtogether in the same environment, and are being fed the same food:apples and fish food. Their environment consists of a tank with soiland peat moss on the bottom of the container, and egg cartons andapples on top of the soil. In this environment, we hope to breed thecrickets, which will bury their eggs in the soil, and even on the apples. Once the baby crickets have hatched, they will be taken into twoseparate containers, away from the adult crickets. One group of babycrickets will be raised on fish food, and the second group will feed ondog food. These are the crickets that we will feed to the tarantulas. In order to test our hypothesis, our 10 tarantulas were first beseparated into 2 groups: A and B. Each individual tarantula lives in aseparate container with some peat moss, and has been assigned a letter(A or B) and number (1-5), which is posted on their container. Thisletter-number combination will be the tarantula’s name for the timebeing. Each group of tarantulas will be fed only crickets from onegroup, in order to see if their food affects their growth. In otherwords, Group A tarantulas will be fed crickets that were raised on fishfood, and Group B tarantulas will be fed the crickets that were raised on dog food. With each weekly feeding, every individualtarantula will be measured and weighed. These measurements will bekept in a log, and will be evaluated at the end of the experiment to seeif different food does or does not affect the growth rates of thetarantulas. This experiment is statistically sound for several reasons. For one, allother factors of the tarantulas are constant, meaning that eachtarantula lives in the same environmental conditions as the rest, which excludes other factors fromaffecting their growth rate. The tarantulas will all be fed at the same time, on thesame days, also. Another control is that of the crickets. Both groups are identical inenvironment, feeding time, etc, which rules out other factors that maycontribute or take away from their “nutritional value” so to speak. Thelast reason that the experiment is statistically sound is the numbers. We have five tarantulas in each group, a totalof ten. This will make our statistics and results more concrete, than ifwe were to only have 1 tarantula in each group, for example. We are currently brainstorming different ways to get the class involvedand interested in our lab. We may have a naming contest for thetarantulas, which may help to give them a little “personality”, sincethey will be our pets for the next few weeks, as well as our experiment. We would also like to show the class how we go about feeding andmeasuring the crickets. The idea of letting the class take part in thefeedings and measurements was dismissed, as the spiders are veryfragile-we have already lost two, and another is injured. We don’t wantto take any chances of any more casualties. Another plan is to give theclass an assignment: find and summarize one article or passage thatthey think would be helpful to us in conducting our experiment, orlearning more about the spiders and crickets involved. In order to getthe class involved in the actual experimentation, since we do not thinkthey should feed or measure the spiders, we may have student takesome of our daily observations of the spiders, or check the conditions(food, moisture, etc) of the crickets and mealworms. We have developed a schedule so that observations can be made daily.We also plan to feed the tarantulas as a group on every Sunday evening, although we may soon add another feeding for the tarantulasin the middle of the week.

The schedule goes as follows: Mondays: Nicole Tuesdays: Erik Wednesdays: Langston Thursdays: Sean Fridays: Mary Jane Saturdays: Randy Sundays: Group Feeding

These are the observations to be made each day: -Moisture (peat)of the tarantula, crickets and mealworms -Cricket food -Check mealworms for dampness (damp=transfer) -Check fruit (change every few days) -Look for cricket babies.

The important materials involved: Mealworms and crickets, food for the tarantula Scale to the nearest thousand to measure the weight of the tarantulaand the cricket before feeding Small tube to put the tarantula or cricket in to weigh Small glass aquarium to raise crickets, with a glass wall dividing the two groups of crickets by what they eat 12 small Tupperware containers to house each tarantula Peat to hold moisture for the spiders Dog food and fish food for the crickets Oatmeal for the mealworms Millimeter rulers to measure the size and growth of the tarantulas over time. Here is our latest DATASHEET

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