Saturday, October 30, 2010

tarantula ~ 10/30/10 ~ Corral de Tierra




Just in time for Halloween! This tarantula was crossing the road and of course we stopped. I'm fairly sure it's a male, because some of my numerous pictures clearly show spurs on the underside of the front "knees." As big as he seemed, his cephalothorax was not much bigger than a dime. When I touched his back legs, he'd arch his abdomen up and spread out his spinnerets. He was very camera friendly and would walk toward me when I got down on the ground to take pictures. We tried to herd him to the side of the road, but he seemed to prefer roaming around on the road... which was terribly unfortunate. As we were leaving him to his thing, he got squished by a passing car. I almost cried.

While I believe this is an Aphonopelma eutylenum, I've e-mailed Brent Hendrixson at The American Tarantula Society to confirm and will update this post when I hear back. For more photos, see my Flickr set.

ps 11/01/10 - For other regionally local tarantula sightings, check out Idora Design, Nature Visions, and Dipper Ranch.

pss 11/12/10 - Again, another tarantula post, not necessarily local, Weird Bug Lady's blog post.

pss 11/15/10 - I heard back from Brent after sending a second e-mail without a photo attachment. With his permission, here's what he said, "This is a tough group of spiders. The species belongs to what we call the "Aphonopelma eutylenum" species complex, a group of several closely related species whose identities remain elusive because they are difficult to distinguish (in fact, I think they're more than likely all the same species). I know this isn't terribly helpful, but that's where we're at with this group right now." Thank you, Dr. Hendrixson!

13 comments:

texwisgirl said...

Oh, he's just gorgeous (or should I say was gorgeous.) Sorry he got squished!

I love the one of him coming towards the camera, although I'd have to admit I'd have been scared to be that up close and personal.

I'm glad you stopped to catch pix of him before his untimely (self-inflicted) demise...

phyte club katie said...

That's horrible he got smashed. I would've cried (or almost cried) too.
Great photos. I used to handle an otherwise caged tarantula for an environmental ed. program, and about 50% of the time I'd chicken out, so props to you for the photo shoot with a wild one and even touching his legs!

Imperfect and tense said...

That is brave blogging, Katie!

As for his sad demise, I suspect he won't be the last creature to have sowed the seeds of his own destruction by the road he chose.

Bob Bushell said...

He "was" a beautiful little spider, and I was sad that he met up with his other self. Great Pictures.

Debbie Miller @HooootOwl said...

Awesome ... scary. Love the perspective on that first shot!

Joe said...

Good Halloween post. Sorry it didn't make it across the road.

Nature ID (Katie) said...

Thanks everyone for your comments. We were are on a dead end (no pun intended) country road and figured he'd eventually find his way safely off the road if we left him alone. I'd have picked him up to move him, but I've handled tarantulas before and have gotten a rash from the hairs. The first photo above is my favorite, even though it's not very good for ID.

sniehans said...

Love that first photo too! Sorry he didn't get off the road fast enough... :(

Christine said...

Wow, those photos are so gorgeous! I was so excited when I found mine that I couldn't focus on my limited photography skills- not to mention the harsh light of midday... In Tilden Park they close one of the roads during the Winter to protect the migrating newts- wish there was something like that to protect your little guy. Thanks for the shout out!

Nature ID (Katie) said...

Thanks, sniehans! I'm still trying to figure out your blog moniker.

Christine, my generally fuzzy photos seem to improve when I'm really interested in something. I took way too many pics of this furry fellow since it was my first time seeing a tarantula out in the wild. Funny you should mention newts, as we looked for them recently on a rainy day.

Max-e said...

Hi Katie, this is an interesting fellow. Nice shots and it is a pity about his demise.
What I have missed at our present place is the fact that we do not have any spiders where we live. I find them to be fascinating creatures.
I have enjoyed browsing through your site and will be back.

Erica Lea said...

I love that first photo! He really looks like a monster conquering the world:-) So sad that the world conquered him, though. For every one that we've moved off the road (with sticks), there have been 3 or 4 more that were in places we couldn't stop. We always try to straddle them, but I'm sure many don't make it across. They're determined to be on the roads, probably because it's so much easier to walk on them (they're kind of ungainly, aren't they?). Thanks for directing me over here - it's been way too long, and I just realized I hadn't written you back - senility!

Nature ID (Katie) said...

Max, I can't believe you don't have spiders where you live. Thanks for visiting. I love your blog and especially enjoyed your World Cup and Kulula posts.

Erica, I looked around for sticks, but the only ones were poison oak. What is it about tarantulas and roads? Maybe it's warmer on the road?