Currently viewing the category: "Tarantulas and Trapdoor Spiders"
What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Spider identification
Location: Northern California
November 12, 2016 11:30 pm
Found this decently large spider on my porch here in the rural mountains of northern California, Sierra Nevada foothills. The picture is a close up but it’s about half the size of my palm including legs. Any ideas of what kind of spider it is?
Signature: Christina

Trapdoor Spider

Trapdoor Spider

Dear Christina,
This is a Trapdoor Spider.  It resembles this individual from the genus
Calisoga that is pictured on BugGuide.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Ed. Note:  From our personal email account.

Subject:  Tarantula in Mount Washington
Location:  Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
October 23, 2016
Daniel,
Can you ID this spider from this photo? S/he was not seeming well when Mark saw her – in a glass bowl on the porch, where she must have fallen 🙁
S/he’s much livlier since we gave her water and tiny crickets…Poor thing, I have no idea how long s/he was there.
Julian and I both think s/he looks more like a tarantula than a trapdoor spider.
c.

Tarantula

Tarantula

Dear Clare,
We agree with you and Julian that this is a Tarantula, and we are happy to hear it is recovering considering it looks dead in your image.  Female Tarantulas are reluctant to leave their burrows, and the males, which do not live as long, seek mates when the first rains of the season occur, much like related Trapdoor Spiders.  According to Charles Hogue in Insects of the Los Angeles Basin:  “Local hill residents are sometimes shocked to find a giant hairy spider crawling about their pations on a late summer’s eve.  Few Angelenos realize that tarantulas are permanent inhabitants of the dry grass and brush-covered hillsides of the basin.”  We also realize that habitat loss within the city is a contributing factor in reduced populations of Tarantulas, but your proximity to Rainbow Canyon Park and other preserved open space parks in the neighborhood is a good indication that local activism is having a positive impact on native species.  Hogue recognizes two species in Los Angeles,
 Aphonopelma eutylenum and Aphonopelma reversum.  We suspect your individual is most likely Aphonopelma eutylenum which is pictured on BugGuide, and which according to Hogue has males maturing in the fall.  Please keep us posted on this poor Tarantula’s recovery.

Thank you for the information. The tarantula is making a good recovery! We gave him (I decided he’s a male) water, which he  drank; then, three little crickets – of which he has eaten one. I just checked on him and he has buried himself under a combination of small wood chip/mulch and gossamer! So, I think he is recuperating well.

 

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Tarantula Came A-Walkin’
Location: Coryell County, Texas
October 16, 2016 6:06 pm
Hello again! Just discovered this tarantula crawling across the yard at sundown, 7 PM. We had a male tarantula on our front porch several years ago, also in the fall, that you kindly identified. We tried not to disturb it too much as we took some photos, and then it crawled into the dry creekbed behind our yard.
Signature: Ellen

Texas Brown Tarantula

Texas Brown Tarantula

Hi Ellen,
We believe this is most likely a male Texas Brown Tarantula,
Aphonopelma hentzi, a species that is well represented with images on BugGuide.

Texas Brown Tarantula

Texas Brown Tarantula

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Trap door?
Location: Oceanside CA
September 21, 2016 9:27 pm
Bug man think I got a trap door. What do you think?
Oceanside after the rain..
Signature: Chainsaw

Male California Trapdoor Spider

Male California Trapdoor Spider

Dear Chainsaw,
This is indeed a male California Trapdoor Spider and it appeared right on schedule, though your September rain was rather unseasonal in Southern California.  It will be interesting to see how changes in our weather patterns will affect populations of native species.  Male California Trapdoor Spiders wander in search of mates after the first rains of the season.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Tarantula
Location: California
August 10, 2016 5:33 pm
My husband was just given this from a teacher who says it was found wild and they thought it was female. At first we were told Chilean Rose Hair but now thinking California Ebony?? Thanks!
Signature: Stephanie Heckman

Tarantula

Chilean Rose Hair Tarantula

Dear Stephanie,
Once a wild creature is taken from its habitat and becomes a “pet” and then changes hands, and if a chain of custody cannot be established, it might be difficult to establish actual species identity.  We do not have the necessary skill to identify Tarantulas to the species level, but this does appear to be a female.  Perhaps one of our readers who has more experience with Tarantulas will be able to provide a proper species identity.  As a cautionary lesson to our readers, we would strongly advise folks never to remove Tarantulas from their environment as they are becoming increasing rarer in the wild.  Since they are desirable spiders sold in pet stores, “collectors” frequently remove native species from the wild to sell them, a habit we strongly discourage.

Tarantula

Chilean Rose Hair Tarantula

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Didn’t know Utah had spiders this size
Location: Saratoga Springs
August 9, 2016 8:23 pm
What is this? Maybe the Salt Lake Brown Terantula? Is it a poisonous spider? Saw it coming from a boulder rock wall in Saratoga Springs, Utah.
Signature: Daniel

Tarantula

Tarantula

Dear Daniel,
This is a Tarantula in the genus
Aphonopelma and BugGuide led us to this quote from the Journal of Arachnology:  “The Aphonopelma of North American are poorly known. Although many species have been described few specimens can be properly identified either by using available keys or by wading through species descriptions. Most identifiable specimens belong to species found in Mexico or Central America that are easily recognized by unique color patterns, such as that of A. seemanni. Correct identification of specimens collected within the United States is often suspect since determinations must be based on the process of elimination using collection dates and locality data in combination with coloration, coxal setation, and metatarsal scopulation.”  BugGuide does list Utah sightings in August and September.  We searched Salt Lake Brown Tarantula and found a posting in our own archives with the subject Salt Lake City Brown Tarantula, which was not a name, but rather a subject line for the posting, and we also found a Salt Lake County Brown Tarantula identified as Aphonopelma iodius on the Natural History Museum of Utah site where it states:  “The teddy bear of the desert, these harmless fuzzy darlings live much longer than you might think — up to 25 years for a female and about half that for a male!  Tarantulas aren’t the fastest runners.  Their primary defense is the irritating hairs on their abdomens.  When chased or frightened, they can use a back leg to brush these hairs into the eyes or mouth of a predator.   In the late summer, you’re likely to see tarantulas wandering in the foothills.  They aren’t migrating. They are mature males looking for females, with little interest in food or their own safety…just mating.”  We were going to try to link to the species on BugGuide and see if we could get additional information, but alas, BugGuide currently seems to be experiencing technical difficulties.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination