Male California Trapdoor Spider found in Eagle Rock

Subject: Spider ID
Location: (North) Eagle Rock
December 17, 2013 3:41 pm
Dear Bugman,
First of all, I can’t tell you enough how pleased I was to come across your site, and even more so to learn that you’re a local Angeleno!!
Can you help me identify this spider?? My first thought was a juvenile tarantula, but I’m now leaning toward a Crevice Weaver upon further research. I have lived in this area (Pasadena/Eagle Rock) my whole life and have never seen a spider this impressive. See the attached photo.
Signature: Dr. Jones

Male California Trapdoor Spider
Male California Trapdoor Spider

Good Morning Dr. Jones,
Greetings from Northeast Los Angeles, the best part of our city.  Your first thought was actually a bit closer taxonomically, as this is a male California Trapdoor Spider,
Bothriocyrtum californicum.  Trapdoor Spiders are classified with Tarantulas and other primitive spiders as Mygalomorphs.  Due to habitat destruction, California Trapdoor Spiders are not as common as they once were in the Los Angeles basin.  They tend to live on sunny, south facing slopes, and much of the land in northeast Los Angeles that fits that description was built on over various construction booms in the past century.  You are lucky to have much open space in Eagle Rock along the 134 freeway, and we expect there is a healthy population of California Trapdoor Spiders in them there hills.  Sexually dimorphic Female California Trapdoor Spiders are long lived and rarely encountered as they do not leave their burrows unless forcibly evicted.  Males wander in search of mates, and they are frequently encountered after the winter rains begin.  Sadly, many male California Trapdoor Spiders fall into swimming pools and drown.  BugGuide does provide this interesting bit of trivia:  “According to Guinness World Records, as of 2009, this is the strongest spider. It has been able to resist a force 38 times its own weight when defending its trapdoor. This equates to a man trying to hold a door closed while it is being pulled on the other side by a small jet plane!(1) Unfortunately, the Guinness book doesn’t mention if it’s the strongest North American spider or if it’s the strongest in the world. Also, one thing to think about is whether or not every spider’s strength has been measured. I guess one can safely say that the information is flawed in that aspect, but it still asserts the fact that these spiders ARE very strong.”

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