Known for years as the “highland form” of Brachypelma smithi this spider was described in 1992 by Dr Gunter Schmidt using a dead male and the exuvia of a female. The name auratum is derived form auratus= golden in Latin, because of the orange-red flames on the patella. The type site is Mexico and presumed Sinaloa.

Brachypelma auratum
The habitat of Brachypelma auratum

Just like many other red leg Brachypelma species, Brachypelma auratum is found in the ecoregion Balsas dry forest. Unlike the habitat along the pacific coast the inland side of the Sierra Madre del Sur is extremer, hotter and drier. Brachypelma auratum burrows under tree roots and under large stones. juvenile specimens are found under stones.

Adult female Brachypelma auratum at burrow entrance.

Altough Brachypelma auratum was previously known as a highland form of Brachypelma smithi, we only found them below 600 m. One day we recorded 47C temperature in the sun.

the burrows of Brachypelma auratum are about 30 cm deep and usually under shade. together with the juvenile B. auratum one can find Bonnetina sp. under stones. still in the same area, but in full sunlight Aphonopelma bicoloratum makes it’s burrow.

Distribution of Brachypelma auratum after A. Locht, M. Yañez and I. Vazquez

Climate graph compiled with data from:

Carapace variation in Brachypelma auratum.

Flame markings of Brachypelma auratum leg IV.

The end of the rains mark the start of the mating season.

Adult male of Brachypelma auratum, Michoacan Mexico.

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