Tarantula from Utah

Subject: Didn’t know Utah had spiders this size
Location: Saratoga Springs
August 9, 2016 8:23 pm
What is this? Maybe the Salt Lake Brown Terantula? Is it a poisonous spider? Saw it coming from a boulder rock wall in Saratoga Springs, Utah.
Signature: Daniel


Dear Daniel,
This is a Tarantula in the genus
Aphonopelma and BugGuide led us to this quote from the Journal of 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.”  BugGuide does list Utah sightings in August and September.  We searched Salt Lake Brown Tarantula and found a posting in our own archives with the subject Salt Lake City Brown Tarantula, which was not a name, but rather a subject line for the posting, and we also found a Salt Lake County Brown Tarantula identified as Aphonopelma iodius on the Natural History Museum of Utah site where it states:  “The teddy bear of the desert, these harmless fuzzy darlings live much longer than you might think — up to 25 years for a female and about half that for a male!  Tarantulas aren’t the fastest runners.  Their primary defense is the irritating hairs on their abdomens.  When chased or frightened, they can use a back leg to brush these hairs into the eyes or mouth of a predator.   In the late summer, you’re likely to see tarantulas wandering in the foothills.  They aren’t migrating. They are mature males looking for females, with little interest in food or their own safety…just mating.”  We were going to try to link to the species on BugGuide and see if we could get additional information, but alas, BugGuide currently seems to be experiencing technical difficulties.

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