Stumpy had narrowly missed being yet another
uncounted statistic of unconscionable vertebrate vehicular tarantula
How did Stumpy do? Apparently, the front leg is critical for
the male tarantula in the act of mating.
At first, it didn’t look like he would be able to
mate. Later, after much maneuvering by paintbrush, he would finally,
often apparently by accident, wander into the female and touch her with
his remaining front leg — and stop dead. “Yes!” we’d tell him. “It’s a
girl! Go for it!”
Then, he’d vibrate, and tap her, and behave generally like a
responsible male tarantula, but when he started getting into position
it would get tricky. After a few tries, he came up with an adaptation
— hook the female’s right fang with his remaining right leg. This
sometimes resulted in a problematic torquing motion with both of them
tilting off sideways in opposite directions, but at least one time he
got the job done right…
Stumpy died on August 21, living a bit longer than most Texas tan
males, but his genes live on. Morticia, a large and pretty female the
editor has had for over five years, made an eggsac. Thanks to ATS
members, nearly 500 tiny “Stumpies” are now in good homes from coast to
coast in the US.
So now we know…more than we wanted to know.