|Date||14 Aug 2001|
The project is the first ever systematic attempt to document distribution of family Theraphosidae spiders in India, with special reference to Poecilotheria species. The aim of the study is to determine available habitats, quality of habitat, effects of changing habitat, plot species distribution, document threats and study the effects of harvest on the populations and determine their status in the wild. The results from this project will provide information to the legislation authorities to amend the listings of CITES and the Indian Wildlife (Protection) Act, develop conservation and management action plans, develop identification keys and manual, and train law enforcers.
Theraphosid spiders are known for their beauty and size and are traded as pets in the international market. There has been a recent spurt of collection of theraphosid spiders from India and Sri Lanka, which end up in European and American markets. This study is to understand the distribution of various arboreal and ground theraphosid spiders in India, taxonomy, ecology and status in the wild, and the effects of collections on the wild populations that are already threatened due to restricted distribution and habitat modification.
Initial findings suggest that many theraphosids are restricted in their distribution and many more are not described till date. Habitat degradation is a common threat with many species being susceptible to changes in quality of habitat. Captive breeding protocol for this group is still not effectively established. Myths about the effects of their poison abound among locals, which have a negative impact on their presence in and around houses in the forests.
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