Tarantula from the Sierra Nevada Foothills

Tarantula, I believe
Location: Sierra Nevada foothills, northern California, at 2400 ft.
November 14, 2011 9:51 am
I found this approximately 1” spider in my bathroom last week (early November). I believe it is a Tarantula, but was amazed, as I am not sure how he got in, and we do get wet weather and occasional winter snow. I thought they were only found in hot, dry climates in California. Can you identify?
Signature: Rhonda L.

California Tarantula

Dear Rhonda,
Even at high altitudes, much of California is arid.  It is our understanding that North American Tarantulas are in the genus
Aphonopelma.  According to BugGuide:  “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 .”


So, you agree this is a Tarantula (not a Trapdoor?).  Thank you.     R. Lawrence

Yes we do, but we would always defer to a true expert.

3 thoughts on “Tarantula from the Sierra Nevada Foothills”

  1. Aphonopelma is always a good bet from this region. This might be A. iodious, I’d need more photos, specifically of its carapace to identify properly


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