Sunday, September 28, 2008

My First Wild Tarantula Encounter

Ooh, scary, coming toward me. (Just kidding. I was going toward it. He was actually trying to get away from me!)

Male Desert Tarantula trying to get away from me.

Trip co-leader Mike demonstrates that the desert tarantula is surprisingly docile.

Some interesting facts I found:

Factoid #1: The desert tarantula seems to be North America's only tarantula genus (Aphonopelma). Several species are readily found in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and southern California.

Factoid #2: At dawn and dusk, the males go out in search of females. Once they mate (within their first three years of life), the males will die. Females, on the other hand, live for up to 20 years. NOT FAIR!

Factoid #3: During their final molt (shedding of their skin), males develop extremely long "pedipalps" (the spider equivalent of antennae). Then they go out in search of the ladies.