Walkaround of the Mexican red-knee tarantula, Brachypelma smithi (P-Cambridge, 1897) by Schleich, released in 2019. I am going to start with a little taxonomic disclaimer. There is confusion to the identity of spiders referred to as Mexican red-knees, since the description of a cryptic sibling species, B. hamorii Cleton and Verdez, 1997. The two species are indistinguishable morphologically and can only be separated by DNA barcoding and strict geographic distribution. In the absence of a figure being specifically ascribed to a given species, I am referring to all figures as the classic B. smithi.
First thing first. This is, to my knowledge, Schleich’s first standard-sized arthropod figure (they had some in their vintage ‘Mini’ line and some recent accessory sets, such as the Death Valley set or Scorpion Nest). But I think this is the first in a standard line, and I commend them on it! After so many years, this marks uncharted territory for Schleich. I encourage Schleich fans to buy it so they’ll make more 🙂 . But my congratulations and thanks to Schleich for venturing out to this group of animals. Mojo Fun released their first arthropod in 2019 also, and the same species!
The figure is nicer than I thought it would be, looks better in-hand than in publicity shots. It is made of a solid, good-quality PVC (very similar in texture and feel to CollectA’s insects and spiders). The size is nice, a little smaller than I anticipated, but I am actually grateful for that. The body length is about 4.0 cm, making it just under 1:1 for a small female (or 1:1 for an immature one). The maximum space occupied by the legs is 7.0 cm by 7.0 cm.
If there is one morphological mistake, it is with regards to the number and position of the eyes. For spiders, the eye arrangement usually defines the family, and this figures eyes are not consistent with members of the family Theraphosidae. While this might seem like a nit-pick, other major companies can get this right (see Papo’s spectacular wolf spider, for example).
The underside is marked copyright ’18, I guess because that is when it was commissioned. It also says, I think, ‘Am Lines’. Perhaps this in reference to American dealers of Schleich? I don’t know, this was my first Schleich figure ;-).
Smaller than it’s cousin from Bullyland:
With other figures of comparable size. Clockwise from top-left: Kaiyodo (Capsule Q Museum – Toxic Animals), Schleich, and Safari LTD (Authentics Insects) [note: The Mojo figure had not released when I originally took this image, but it is also similar]: