Flame Knee Tarantulas
Apart from characteristic red flame markings, it can be difficult to distinguish the Mexican flame knee tarantula (Brachypelma auratum) from the Mexican redknee tarantula (Brachypelma smithi). Commonly mistaken for one another, these arachnids have long been thought to be the same species. Both are black in color with accentuated lighter edges and markings on the leg joints. Both also share a docile nature and a long lifespan.
However, while the redknee tarantula bears orange or yellow markings, the flame knee tarantula exhibits only red markings. These red markings take the shape of flames and are located at the right of the patella. Flame knee tarantulas also bear a white, horizontal stripe near these markings. Adult flame knee tarantulas may reach a leg span of 15 cm.
The flame knee tarantula is famous for its longevity, living up to 20 years or more. However, growth for the young is slow, and maturation may take as long as five years to complete. As is true of a number of arachnid species, females are larger than males.
Flame knee tarantulas are rarely aggressive but will attack when provoked. They possess a painful bite, as well as urticating hairs. These arachnids consume cockroaches, grasshoppers and crickets. They may also prey upon small lizards and spiders.