Subject: Tarantula?
Location: Northern California
May 26, 2013 11:21 pm
I was walking out my front door and I found this huge spider. Being fascinated with insects and arachnids, I caught him and set up a little container for him. What I noticed is that he shares many traits with tarantulas such as: hairy legs, slow movement, and a much larger head than abdomen. His body (cephalothorax + abdomen) is roughly 1 cm long, while when his legs are spread out, he is 1.5 in.
I really do hope this is a young tarantula because I would love to raise one and watch it grow.
Signature: Stanley


Dear Stanley,
This does appear to be a Tarantula, but we would not entirely rule out the possibility that it is a related Trapdoor Spider like members of the genus
Calisoga which are represented on BugGuide.  Most North American Tarantulas are in the genus Aphonopelma, and according to BugGuide which cites American 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 .”


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