Pamphobeteus insignis

Pamphobeteus insignis The "Colombian Purple Bloom"

This is one of the rarest and most demanded tarantulas in the hobby. P. insignis is one of the more stockier Pamphobeteus species. They are most closely allied to P. nigricolor and P. ornatus in taxonomy and appearance.
Since the 1998, a few German breeders have had some limited success in producing the species in captivity, but due to the high demand, American hobbyists have only seen captive-born stock offered in 1999 and in 2002. As of Feb. 2011, there is no known adult pairs in any American collections.

Color/Pattern/Appearance: Females differ in appearance from female P. nigricolor, P. ornatus by being more of blackish-olive brown post molt and lightens up to a rich, reddish-brown  premolt. Mature males differ from P. ornatus and P. nigricolor males by having a beautiful deep “purple” bloom coloration not only in their femurs, but on the carapace as well.
Short body hairs overall. P. insignis is most allied to P. nigricolor, but differs it that it has a thick cluster of very fine close-set barbed spines on the posterior side of the trochanter of palp.

Original description: Pocock, 1903

Hobby history: This species was imported in the early to mid 1990s along with Pamphobeteus ferox and P. nigricolor from Colombia. Since 1998, it has not been imported. Some European breeders have had limited success only a few times since 1998 and it remains one of the rarest tarantula species in the trade.

Range: Colombia

Habitat: Amazon Rain forest

Size: Averages 7.5”. Some individuals have been reported over 8.5”.  Body weight of three to four ounces especially in gravid adult females.

Growth rate: Fast. Spiderlings emerge out of the egg sac .75” to 1” and if kept warm, humid and feed frequently, males can mature in 1.5 years and females in 2.5 years.

Type: Opportunistic burrowing species

Temperament : Semi-aggressive. This species will flick urticating hairs and is quick to go into a threat display and possibly bite if badly disturbed or roughly handled. I do not recommend handling this species due mainly to their bulky bodies with large abdomens that will rupture if they take any fall of more than an inch or two. This is a species that spends its life on the ground often in deep burrows in the rain forest. Also, they semi-aggressive overall. Some individuals can be placid though if kept long-term.

Urticating hairs: Yes

Venom potency: Not considered medically significant/dangerous, BUT the venom has not been extensively studied, so don't get bit. :)

Hobbyist level for care: Intermediate


Temperature: Day time temps 75F-82F.  Nighttime drops no lower than 60F

Humidity: 80%

Substrate: Coco husk type substrate with 25% mix of orchid moss with a depth of 3"-8" slightly moist to the touch. Make the substrate slope with a 45 degree angle and insert a cave/pvc pipe or similar shelter that has a 3"-4" diameter into the middle of the slope so the spider can make it's lair.

Water  needs: Provide a shallow, but wide water dish with purified and/or spring water. Change weekly and/or whenever fouled.

Food: Feed 3 to 4 large crickets, captive-produced feeder roach species, brown anolis lizards and/or one pinkie/fuzzy mouse/rat.

Feeding frequency: 3 to 4 crickets/roaches  twice a week or one pinkie/fuzzy mouse/rat once a week.

Tank/Cage size and type: For adults 5'-8"+, 10 gallon or better yet, use a 20 gal. long type of tank.
  They do not need much tank height. Only about 4" from substrate height to the ceiling of their tank is needed.

Transferring and conducting tank maintenance: Best to use cup-to-tank transfer method using a 32 ounce , clear cup. Spray a fine mist of water on the spider's abdomen to get them to walk into the cup and then put the lid on and transfer the cup to the tank you want the spider in allowing them to walk out on their own or gently misting their abdomen to encourage them to walk out. Using a the soft bristles of a large and wide paint brush 2" works well too. Padded, metal thumb tweezers can be used as well especially for changing  the water dish, removing prey items or substrate or changing their shelter.

Breeding notes: Typical of the Pamphobeteus genus, adults are usually gentle in mating. They normally conduct text book matings and part afterwards without aggression. Can be kept communally for breeding purposes in a large 40 gal. tank or similar.

Egg sac size/# of spiderlings: Large egg sac about 2”-3” in diameter. Average number of spiderlings: 80. Maximum: maybe 180. Spiderling size at 1st instar: .5” to .75”


Bischoff, B. 1998.
Hinweis zur Gattung Pamphobeteus POCOCK, 1901.
DeArGe Mitteilungen 3(4): 6-7.

Fitchett, R. 1988.
Field guide review: No. 6. Colombian purple bloom bird eater (Pamphobeteus insignis).
Journal of the British Tarantula Society 3(4): 15-16.

Pocock, R.I. 1901.
Some new and old genera of South American Avicularidae.
Ann. Mag. nat. Hist. (7) 8: 540-555.

Smith, A. M. 1986
The Tarantula Classification and Identification Guide: Special Edition.
Fitzgerald Publishing. 178 pp. ISBN no. 0 951 0939 0 8

*** This profile researched and written by Todd A. Gearheart
© 2011