Tarantulas are particularly suitable bio-indicators to map environmental change, because they can live for 20 years and remain in one burrow for life, making them easy to relocate year after year. 

In the Sartenejan region there are two described species of tarantula and possibly two or more undescribed species. These undescribed species include one similar to the Cinnamon tarantula Crassicrus lamanai (Reichling & West, 1996), and at least one aboreal tarantula.

In the Sartenejan Region there are two described tarantula species, the cinnamon tarantula C. lamanai and the redrump tarantula Brachypelma vagans,. Both are common on B'alam Ja Way and the surrounding areas. The recent naming of C. lamanai in 1996 and other Belizean tarantulas shows how little we know of Belezean spiders. An excellent site about Belizean tarantulas is found at http://www.biological-diversity.info/tarantula.htm

 Crassicrus lamamai

Above: The cinnamon tarantula Crassicrus lamanai (Reichling & West, 1996) - a fairly common species inhabiting the lowlands of Belize. Although it was described as a new species in 1996, it was already fairly well know in the pet trade where its trade name was the "cinnamon". This common name mostly referred to the female. The male (in the above image) is virtually black and very different in appearance from the female.

Above: Redrump tarantula, Brachypelma vagans (Ausserer, 1875) - is the most widespread and common of the Belizean tarantulas. The common name is "red-rump" which refers to the abdomen being covered in reddish fur which is most noticeable in freshly molted specimens. They are most common in disturbed areas and this terrestrial species is easily found by locating its burrow.

A Yucatec Maya name for this species is "Chiwo' ". They rarely bite and the bite of this tarantula is harmless. However, the abdominal hairs can cause itching and swelling, and are particularly nasty if inhaled.