Ed. Note: From our personal email account.
Subject: Tarantula in Mount Washington
Location: Mount Washington, Los Angeles, California
October 23, 2016
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.
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.