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PRELIMS BOOSTER 2018: Peacock Tarantula (Gooty Tarantula, Metallic Tarantula, Peacock Parachute Spider) and Minamata Convention on Mercury


Peacock Tarantula (Gooty Tarantula, Metallic Tarantula, Peacock Parachute Spider) and Minamata Convention on Mercury

Peacock Tarantula (Gooty Tarantula, Metallic Tarantula, Peacock Parachute Spider)

  1. Critically Endangered – IUCN
  2. Habitat
  • found in a degraded dry deciduous forest
  • Endemic to Andra Pradesh (Only known habitat)
  1. Threats
  • Habitat loss and degradation — for logging and firewood harvesting
  • collection by international pet traders
  1. Old World species of tarantula
  2. It is the only blue species of the Poecilotheria genus


  1. Like others in its genus it exhibits an intricate fractal-like pattern on the abdomen










Minamata Convention on Mercury

  1. UN international treaty designed to protect human health and the environment from anthropogenic emissions and releases of mercury and mercury compound
  2. signed — October 2013 at a Diplomatic Conference held in Kumamoto, Japan.
  3. Effective — 16 August 2017
  4. Name — Japanese city Minamata. The city went through a devastating incident of mercury poisoning.
  5. Parties – 91 (January 2018)
  6. Provisions
  • ban on new mercury mines and phase-out of existing ones
  • phase out and phase down of mercury use in a number of products and processes
  • control measures on emissions to air and on releases to land and water
  • regulation of the informal sector of artisanal and small-scale gold mining
  • interim storage of mercury and its disposal once it becomes waste, sites contaminated by mercury as well as health issues
  1. Mercury Club
  • established to support the negotiating process for the legally binding instrument on mercury
  • 3 different types of awards, gold, silver and bronze, were presented and established “according to the level of contributions received in the time period between the 25th session of the UNEP Governing Council, where the decision to convene negotiations was taken, and the sixth session of the intergovernmental negotiating committee.”
  1. Mercury
  • a naturally occurring element in the earth crust, air and water
  • Exposure to mercury – even small amounts – may cause serious health problems, and is a threat to the development of the child in utero and early in life.
  • Mercury may have toxic effects on the nervous, digestive and immune systems, and on lungs, kidneys, skin and eyes.
  • Mercury is considered by WHO as one of the top ten chemicals or groups of chemicals of major public health concern.
  • natural sources
  1. weathering of mercury-containing rocks
  2. forest fires
  3. volcanic eruptions
  4. geothermal activities
  • Anthropogenic
  1. industrial processes – to produce chlorine  or vinyl chloride and polyurethane elastomers
  2. extract gold from ore in artisanal and small-scale gold mining
  3. contained in — electrical switches (including thermostats), relays, measuring and control equipment, energy-efficient fluorescent light bulbs, batteries and dental amalgam.
  4. It is also used in laboratories, cosmetics, pharmaceuticals, including in vaccines as a preservative, paints, and jewellery
  5. Mercury is also released unintentionally from some industrial processes, such as coal-fired power and heat generation, cement production, mining and