Advertisement I got my first tarantula in 1973, when most pet stores carried w/c adult female B smithi for $10. Shortly after I decided to get another 'in case anything happened to it.' Then I found someone selling an Aphonoplema from out west. It kept progressing from there, and I soon became good friends with a reptile importer in Detroit (Geoff Schrock, who was also a fulltime policeman). Got most of my spiders from him. He ordered anything unusual for me, and I fed/watered/unpacked his spiders. I also maintained the spiders at a pet shop in Royal Oak, the Black Lagoon, in exchange for free crickets and an occasional spider. The hobby was based on wild-caughts. Over years of trying, I never found any other tarantula collectors in Michigan. I was a pioneer on my own. Even reptile collectors thought I was weird. Here's what I had in my collection back then (common names ruled, and latin was scarce and usually wrong): 1) Brachypelma smithi - I probably had a couple dozen adults and subadults at my peak. I saw hundreds of adult females back then, all were around 6", except for one that the Black Lagoon had that was 7", and they wanted the ridiculous price of $50 for it. One time I unpacked a box of them that my reptile dealer got in. It was a flat, rectangle wooden box with 100 little square compartments inside, each containing an adult smithi. You slid the plywood top off, and they're all exposed at once. Everyone of them came out in a bad mood, kicking hairs. I itched for a week after that. 2) Brachypelma albopilosum - gradually got in the trade and was available in many pet stores. 3) Bracypelma vagans - My dealer got in two adult females. Would have liked more. 4) Aphonoplema sp. - I had several species: maybe hentzi, a small black one from California, and a blond/brown species from the Laguna area of southern California (my gandparents lived there, and paid a local kid to collect them in the wild and ship them to me in Michigan). 5) Brachypelma/Aphonopelma sp. - This was called a 'Sinaloan Rock Tarantula' from Mexico. My reptile dealer could only get one of them. It was a beautiful blond, very robust, a good 6". Very docile and slow-moving. Every bit as gentle as G pulchra. This one would make an equally great species in the hobby today. 6) Aphonopelma seemanii - There were 3 similar spiders, all with a pink/orange underside and spinneretts. The most common was a 5" battleship grey one from Guatemala. It was in some pet stores back then, but I've never seen it in the hobby since. There was a liitle larger brown one from Honduras, not very common. And the rarest was the dark blue one from Costa Rica, that's now known as A seemanii. These three may all be regional forms of seemanii. 7) Phormictopus cancerides - Popular in pet stores, although a bit fiesty. I had a number of them. They came in as regular imports, and my reptile dealer also brought a bunch back when he went to Haiti on a 'collecting trip.' Well actually he stayed at the hotel bar and pool, and paid local kids a dime for each one they caught for him. 8) Avicularia avicularia - These first came in during the late 1970's. My first arboreal. It was the first tarantula I ever bred, and they hatched out on my birthday. I had to keep all the slings as no one else wanted baby spiders. 9) Ornithoctonus aureotibialis - The only OW in the trade then, that was previously known as 'Haplopelma minax.' I thoroughly enjoyed the several I had. This got my passion for OW's going. 10) Haplopelma lividum - In the late 1970's one of these came in with a shipment of O aureotibialis. It was the only one I saw back then. 11) Nhandu carapoensis - Somehow my reptile dealer got one of these in. He didn't know where it originated from, and could never get another. Big burly, shaggy 6" spider. It was only last year that I saw pictures of it online and could finally identify it. Needless to say, I have a couple now. 12) Sericoplema rubronitens - Another one-of-a-kind oddball my reptile dealer got in, shipped from Costa Rica. Black legs and carapace, red abdomen, very leggy. It was my biggest spider, at 7". Again, I identified it last year from online pics, and I've also got some juneviles of it now. 13) Cyrtopholis bonhotei - These came from another 'collecting trip' by my reptile dealer. He got them on Andros, Eleuthera, and Bimini islands. They were 5", and dark brown with gold capaces. Adult males were black with shiny gold carapaces. I wish there were more Cyrtopholis species in the hobby. They're found all over the Caribbean. 14) ? - My reptile dealer got in two 5" dark brown tarantulas from Mexico, that had skinny legs. They weren't built like Brachypelma or Aphonopelma. I have no idea what they were. The common name given to them was 'Mayan Tarantulas.' 15) Psalmopoeus cambridgei - During a summer while I was in college, I worked at the 'Spider Museum' in Virginia for 'the Spider Lady', Ann Moreton. She was a photographer in her 60's who found spiders to be excellent subjects, and opened a museum on her acreage, with her photograhs and live spiders. I brought my collection down with me from Michigan, and had it on display for the two months I worked there. While there, a young arachnology student named Sam Marshall came by, with two older guys, and I traded a few of my spiders and scorpions for 5 P cambridgei juveiles that Arnold Weber (New York) had bred. They were called 'Tapenauchenius' at the time. They grew very fast and soon I wound up with 3.2; unfortunately I had no adult females when the males matured. I really liked these. Just before I left, a national TV crew came by to film a story on the museum, featuring conservationist and wildlife author Roger Caras, who was really a nice person. In the Spider Museum, Ann Moreton had a couple species that I hadn't seen before, that were field collected by arachnologists (and therefore not in the trade). One was a grey 6" baboon spider (the first baboon I saw) from east Africa, maybe Pterinochilus chordatus, although it was called 'Harpactira.' The other was a full 8" and jet black, from Peru. Biggest spider I'd ever seen, dwarfed mine. It was called a 'Grammostola', although it could have been Pamphobeteus antinous. I managed to get about 20 kinds of tarantulas in the 1970's, although half were due to having a friend (and landlord at one point) who was importing animals. I'm still astonished at all the species in the hobby today, and from so many remote places.