NOTE ZOOS' PRINT JOURNAL 19(10): 1668
RECORD OF POECILOTHERIA REGALIS POCOCK,
1899 FROM NALLAMALA HILLS, EASTERN
GHATS, ANDHRA PRADESH
K. Thulsi Rao
, M. Prudhvi Raju
, I. Siva Rama Krishna
, Manju Siliwal
and C. Srinivasulu
ERM Labs, Nagarjunasagar Srisailam Tiger Reserve, Srisailam,
Kurnool District, Andhra Pradesh 518102, India
Corresponding author; Wildlife Information & Liaison Development
Society, 29-1, Bharathi Colony, Peelamedu, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu
Department of Zoology, Osmania University, Hyderabad, Andhra
Pradesh 500007, India
(web supplement 1668i)
Manuscript 1112; Received 7 November 2003; Revised received 20 May 2004; Finally accepted 1 July 2004; © Zoo Outreach Organisation; www.zoosprint.org
The Nallamala (15
31'N & 78
10'E) is a group of
low hill ranges in the central part of Eastern Ghats. It is an
unbroken chain of rugged hills spread over 7,640km
& Nagulu, 2002). The vegetation is typically of southern tropical
dry deciduous and southern tropical moist deciduous forest
types intermingled with scrub (Champion & Seth, 1968). The
climate is generally hot and dry with temperature rising up to
C to 45
C during May and dips down to 8
C in December.
Average rainfall in this region is between 900 to l,000mm. It
includes two protected areas, namely the Nagarjuanasagar
Srisailam Wildlife Sanctuary and the Gundla Brahmeshwaram
Metta Wildlife Sanctuary.
Surveys were carried out in selected locations of
Nagarjunasagar Srisailam Tiger Reserve) from December 2001
onwards to document the faunal diversity. During the survey
we sighted Poecilotheria regalis Pocock, 1899 in different
locations. To study these large bodied spiders we basically
relied on indirect evidence including exuvia and silk lined
burrows/holes on tree trunks.
The Regal Parachute Spider Poecilotheria regalis Pocock, 1899
) is arboreal and endemic to India. It was first
described from Arakonam, North Arcot District, Tamil Nadu.
Distribution includes many previously published localities in the
Western Ghats, the Eastern Ghats and other localities from recent
studies/sightings (Pocock, 1900; Molur et al., 2004). Although
first reported from the Eastern Ghats, it was widely collected from
the Western Ghat localities from Mumbai to Palakkad. Recent
surveys on the large bodied spiders carried out by us (MS) reveal
its presence from hitherto unreported localities in southern India
indicating its widespread distribution.
The presence of Poecilotheria regalis Pocock, 1899 had been
noted from four different localities both from Farahabad Plateau
in Mahbubnagar District and Srisailam Plateau in Kurnool
District. Three specimens and three exuvia were collected
between December 2001 and August 2003.
One male in alcohol, 1.viii.2002, Thummalabailu, coll. Siva Rama
Krishna and S.M.M. Javed, ERM/SPI/29A, ERM Labs Museum,
Sunnipenta; one male, 16.ix.2002, tea shop, Shikharam, coll. Siva
Rama Krishna and S.M.M. Javed, ERM/SPI/29B; one male,
7.viii.2003, Shikharam Temple, Shikharam, coll. Thulsi Rao and
team, ERM/SPI/29C. Morphometric range of the specimens is
given in Table 1.
We also collected three exuvia of large bodied spiders during
the study period that were confirmed to be that of P. regalis
Pocock, 1899. Of these two were found in the wild, namely near
Biarapur Cheruvu, District Mahbubnagar (Farahabad Plateau)
and near Sunnipenta, District Kurnool (Srisailam Plateau). The
third exuvia is from the third voucher specimen (ERM/SPI/29C)
collected from Shikharam that had been kept in captivity.
P. regalis can easily be distinguished from rest of the known
species of this genus by the presence of the broad reddish
band on the ventral side of the abdomen (Image 2). Males of
this species are usually frequently sighted during the rainy
season when they wander in search of females to mate (Molur
et al., 2004). While wandering the males enter nearby human
dwellings. All the three specimens encountered during the
present study are males and usually immediately after the rains.
ERM/SPI/29A was found at the base of Zizyphus oenophila
near Thummalabailu. There was no proper tree hole in which it
could stay for long and there were no evidence of any web in
any of the holes in the adjacent trees. ERM/SPI/29B, found on
the table of a teashop in Shikharam, was collected in the morning
after rain. The third specimen, also from Shikharam, was noticed
on the temple wall.
Champion, H.G. and S.K. Seth (1968). A Revised Survey of the
Forest Types of India. Government of India Press, New Delhi, 404pp.
Molur, S., B.A. Daniel and M. Siliwal (2004). Distribution of the
Regal Parachute Spider Poecilotheria regalis Pocock, 1899 in India.
Zoos' Print Journal 19(10):
Pocock, R.I. (1899). The genus Poecilotheria: its habits, history and
species. The Annals and Magazine of Natural History (7)3: 82-96.
Pocock, R.I. (1900). The Fauna of British India, Arachnida. Taylor
and Francis, London, 279pp.
Smith, A. and P. Kirk (2001). A field Guide on the Theraphosid Spiders
of Indian and Sri Lanka particularly the genus Poecilotheria.
Srinivasulu, C. & V. Nagulu (2002). Mammalian and avian diversity
of the Nallamala Hills, Andhra Pradesh, India. Zoos’ Print Journal 17(1):
Particulars Measurement (in mm)
ERM/SPI/29A ERM/SPI/29B ERM/SPI/29C
Length 21.0 16.5 18.5
Width 20.0 14.0 18.0
Length 11.0 7.0 9.5
Width 8.5 6.0 6.0
Leg I Length 100.0 81.5 86.5
Leg II Length 88.5 70.0 77.0
Leg III Length 73.5 58.5 66.5
Leg IV Length 89.5 73.0 80.0
Palp Length 74.0 42.0 49.5
Length 23.0 18.0 22.5
Width 19.0 9.0 10.5
Total Body Length 44.0 34.5 48.0
Leg Formula 1>4>2>3 1>4>2>3 1>4>2>3
Stidulatory organs in form of setae and thick hair present between maxillae and
Table 1. Morphometry of P. regalis from Nallamala Hills.
w See Images 1& 2 on the web supplement at www.zoosprint.org