Power feeding in tarantulas is often practised by hobbyist keepers, but the results of this feeding regimen have not been well documented. To determine the effects of power feeding on growth rates, we separated two groups (A and B) of newly hatched Honduran Curly Hair tarantula (Brachypelma albopilosum Valerio, 1980) spiderlings and fed individuals two different diets. Group B (n = 50) was fed two crickets (Acheta domesticus) per week while group A (n = 50) was fed one cricket per week. Tarantulas exhibited a logistic growth curve and we found significant differences in growth rate and instar size when comparing the two groups. Group B tarantulas were significantly larger at each instar than group A tarantulas. This finding indicates that power-fed tarantulas grow at a faster rate, which suggests increased fecundity for females, though obesity may result from such a diet and impact tarantula fecundity, sexual maturity, and/or lifespan. These topics should be explored in subsequent studies.
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Vol. 17 • No. 7