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

What’s That Bug? turns fifteen today!!!
Dear faithful readers,
What’s That Bug? has several dates that we acknowledge.  We started as a column in the zine American Homebody in May 1998, and when the now defunct website American Homebody went live in 2001, we had our first presence on the internet.  See the history of American Homebody on Lisa Anne Auerbach’s site. We existed in that format for a year, and then on August 25, 2002, we registered the domain, and this was our first posting as a unique website.  There was no image with that submission, and we found an image from the internet to use.  That launch date for our site predates the popularity of cellular telephones with the ability to take images.  Early submissions to our site required actual digital cameras to provide images.  Through the years, our mission has always been to educate people to appreciate and tolerate the lower beasts.  Interestingly, Longhorn Beetles, the category of that first posting, is still the most populated category on our site with 1012 postings as of right now.  Here is a gorgeous image of a Banded Alder Borer from our archives.

Banded Alder Borer (from our archives)

Congratulations dear Daniel!  Your site is so fascinating and you have maintained it faithfully and you have followers all over the world.  Thank you for keeping us intrigued.

WTB is a great resource for me, particularly as it’s imbued with Daniel’s humor, as well as his knowledge.
Particularly fun is the Bug Love section 😀
Daniel’s beautiful book, “The Curious World of Bugs”,
( Ours is signed to Jessica with the admonition: “Do good work on the dark continent; and Don’t let the Creechies bite”)
should be on everyone’s shelf, as far as I’m concerned!

Congratulations on keeping us up to date for so long on bugs far and wide, Daniel!
Here is a photo of Ariadne, who will be 32 next month.
Sending her kind regards with mine!

Ariadne the Tarantula

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Tarantula gender (?)
Location: Southern AZ (Santa Cruz county)
August 21, 2017 8:36 am
Is there an easy way to determine the gender of our local tarantula without disturbing it? (photo attached)
Signature: Len Nowak (SALERO RANCH)

Male Tarantula, we believe

Dear Len,
This looks to us to be a male Tarantula, and it looks remarkably like this Tarantula from Nevada we posted recently.  We believe your Tarantula is a male for the following reasons.  It has large pedipalps.  The abdomen is small and the legs are long.  Male Tarantulas tend to wander in search of a mate.  Female Tarantulas are more sedentary, living in the same burrow for up to 25 years.  We have not read that.  We just believe it.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: looks like a spider
Location: Henderson, NV
August 16, 2017 11:15 am
Good morning!
I spotted this spider on my street Monday night. I have no idea what it is.
Please let me know if it is a tarantula or some other species.
Signature: Michelle


Dear Michelle,
Wow, that is a handsome male Tarantula.  We cannot locate an image on BugGuide of a Tarantula in the genus Aphonopelma with an abdomen as light as that in your individual, but we don’t even know if that is diagnostic.  Perhaps one of our readers can help with a species.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Spider or Beetle??
Location: Raleigh, NC
July 8, 2017 9:55 pm
Seen in a backyard in Raleigh, NC. on July 8th, 2017. Is it a spider or beetle?
Signature: Doesn’t matter

Trapdoor Spider

This is a harmless, male Trapdoor Spider in the genus Ummidia, which you can verify by comparing your image to this BugGuide image.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Rare spider?
Location: Atlanta, Georgia, USA
July 1, 2017 4:09 pm
Found this on my doorstep in Atanta, Georgia at night in the summer. (I moved it to a safer place where it was less likely to be noticed by a neighbor and killed).
Signature: Chris

Red Legged Purseweb Spider

Dear Chris,
We have not done any recent research on the Red Legged Purseweb Spider, but last we were aware, the species was considered endangered.  Your individual looks emaciated, and he might have benefited from a meal like a nice fat cricket.  We found this information on Animal Diversity Web:  “Red-legged purseweb spiders, although scarcely found in nature, are not listed on any conservation lists. (Reichling, et al., 2011).”  According to University of Kentucky Entomology:  “The Red-Legged Purseweb Spider (Sphodros rufipes, which may occur in Kentucky) has historically appeared on U.S. endangered species lists, but some scientists believe that it may not be a rare spider. ”  Because of your kind actions, we are tagging this posting with the Bug Humanitarian Award.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Subject: Big Spider
Location: Georgetown, California
June 3, 2017 11:05 am
A few days ago my sister brought me a spider to identify. She lives in a wooded area above Georgetown, Ca. She thought it was a tarantula and I thought it was a wolf spider. **I did not kill the spider** It escaped the container it was in and I found her(?) body today. I had originally wanted my sister to take her(?) back to the mountain area where originally found. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!
Signature: Jen


Hi Jen,
This looks to us like a male Tarantula.  We suspect your sister encountered him when he was searching for a mate.  Male Tarantulas are much shorter lived than females.

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination