The Theraphosid Research Team


Karin Hildebrandt was born in 1969. After graduating from high school, she learned the profession of medical assistant and has also worked for various physicians in this line of work since 1988. She has extensive knowledge in the field of microscopy. For several years she has been intensively involved in keeping, breeding and biology of new world tarantulas as well as sex determination of juvenile tarantulas, partly from the larval stage. Currently she is working on the following projects/questions:

The evolution of spermathecal structure during ontogeny - This project is the master thesis of Marvin Strothmeier from the University of Trier. Karin is working as a technical advisor for this project.

Does the ontogeny of spermathecae development reflect the phylogeny in the subfamily Poecilotheriinae? - This project is technically supervised by Dr. Henrik Krehenwinkel from the University of Trier.

How do male gonads develop during ontogeny and in which taxa do they occur distinctively.


Volker von Wirth, born in 1967, learned the profession of a wholesale and foreign trade merchant after graduating from high school and discontinuing his studies in biology. For the last 30 years he has been working as a manager for various breeding companies of food insects. Since 1985 he is engaged in the systematics and taxonomy of the Theraphosidae and here especially in the keeping, breeding and biology of the Asian tarantulas. He is working generally on the systematics and taxonomy of the Theraphosidae and here specifically on the taxa of the subfamilies occurring in Asia. He identifies tarantulas for dealers, Natural History Museums, Universities, Expeditions and for tarantula keepers when requested. He is also occasionally requested as an expert for customs to clarify the identity of smuggled tarantulas. He works also a reviewer for several taxonomic journals.

He is in demand as a book author and author of many technical articles, as well as an internationally lecturer on the biology of tarantulas. He has also visited the biotopes of spiders in nature in several trips, such as Cyprus, Croatia, Panama and the USA.

We are currently both working with Frank Schneider, Dr. Marion Wassermann and Mark Eichelmann on the identification of tarantula nematodes as well as treatment methods for mite infested tarantulas.

We were or are members of the following clubs and societies:

Verein der Vogelspinnenfreunde e.V.