Who wants to buy a spider? Insights about the global spider trade and conservation

Although often neglected and poorly documented, invertebrate trade is big business.

Their illegal trade is considered to be a serious but many times overlooked threat to their populations, particularly in range-restricted species that have attracted international demand such as many species of tarantulas.

Currently, Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species lists only 36 spider species. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg: the numbers of taxa and specimens traded across the world are a gross underestimation of what is traded. The demand for tarantulas as pets at a global level is high and increasing.

Even though their trafficking is an important driver of biodiversity loss, spiders and other arachnids have low priority for enforcement authorities or policy-makers. Thus, it is necessary to create alternatives to the traditional way of dealing with illegal and unsustainable arachnid trade, focusing more on the consumer’s demand and behaviour.