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Texas Tarantula Hunt, 09/09/05

Discussion in 'Field Trips (Natural Habitats)' started by stubby8th, Sep 10, 2005.

  1. stubby8th

    stubby8th Arachnoknight Old Timer

    My son and I decided to go on a hunt tonight! I brought my camera along this time to share some pics with you.
    Here in North Texas, our native is Aphonopelma hentzi; Oklahoma brown or Texas brown. There is a colony right off the old town square that has been there for decades at least. Some of the old timers I've spoken with can remember them in this location for 50 years or more. Infact, this area was called 'tarantula hill' by the locals.
    This spider is not your average 'brown' spider, rather it posesses a real subtle beauty; black legs and rump highlighted with red, metalic tan carapace. They are unusually docile, even by Aphonopelma standards!
    The spiders in this colony live all along the sidewalk, making their burrow under the cement sidewalk segments. During the warmer months in the evening, they will stick their legs out of their burrow, literally 'feeling' for the vibrations of thier next meal.
    When catching them, I bring a flashlight, deli cup and a small thin stick. I use the stick to tease the ground in front of the hole that the spider is sitting in - emulate the movements of a cricket with the stick. The spider should respond by 'jumping' at your stick and advanceing on your stick, thinking it is a cricket. It will start comming out of it's burrow trying to get at the disturbance. When it is far enough out of the hole, I trap the spider with the empty container. Then I carefully but quickly, slide the lid under the spider and back onto the container. No prodding the burrow, no pouring water down the hole, no digging up their habitat. Another will find this one's hole and take it over. By the way, they are FS, check it out . . .
    Here are a few individuals that I coaxed out:

    Attached Files:

  2. bonesmama

    bonesmama Arachnoprince Old Timer

    You sure know how to make a Jersey girl jealous! You are so lucky to have them right there in the town square! What beautiful T's-and what alot of fun!
  3. Rounder

    Rounder Arachnobaron Old Timer

    Very nice! In Missouri, in the southern part of Mark Twain National Forest, there is a concentrated area that is just thick with A. hentzi, we just have to flip over rocks to find them and even for a spider without all the exotic colors, the reddish highlights are beautiful.
  4. Jaygnar

    Jaygnar Arachnobaron Old Timer

    Awesome story, beautiful T.'s, and thats a cool special effect in the last pic. The flashlight makes the T. look radioactive. :clap:
  5. GoTerps

    GoTerps Arachnoking Old Timer

    Nice shots... I've found both A. hentzi and what is believed to be Aphonopelma gurleyi since moving to your area. I don't collect them though, only observe.

    Lonnie has a nice post about A. gurleyi HERE .
  6. ChrisNCT

    ChrisNCT ChrisinTennessee Arachnosupporter

    Awe Stubby!

    This thread is my dream thread! My favorite T's!
  7. stubby8th

    stubby8th Arachnoknight Old Timer

    Oh, I know how much you love them. They sure are sweet!
    Hey, you need a male now, don't you Chris! I'll keep you forever in hentzi's!
  8. scooter

    scooter Arachnopeon

    I envy you for being able to go hunting. Nice pics.

    I received two A. hentzii today, nice calm spiders.

    Lucky you
  9. Mr Ed

    Mr Ed Arachnobaron Old Timer

    Stubby8th, do you seem to come across more males than females when hunting?
  10. stubby8th

    stubby8th Arachnoknight Old Timer

    No, actually I mostly find females. The mature males are pretty few and far between, but worth it when you run across them - their color is stunning! I did find one this spring, kept him for a few weeks and decided that I was being selfish as his days were numbered. So, I released him over where I find all the females.

    Attached Files:

  11. yea these are the same spiders i have been seeing. I just moved to San Clemente CA. There is a hiking trail i took couple nights ago and first i almost steped on a rattle snake it was like 5 feet away from me. then because it was dark i decided to head back. On my way back i saw this T and i didnt have a camera. so i returned the fallowing day took pictures of three different T's that look exactly like this one. I had a plastic container but i decided not to catch them.
  12. desertdweller

    desertdweller Arachnoprince

    Great photos! Thanks for sharing. I live in AZ and have been looking for my buddies all month since this is the season they are out. EVERYONE tells me they see them. I've seen zippo so far! The cosmic joke.

    Very glad another T keeper DOES see them though.
  13. Nice finds!

    I wonder if I would have any luck up here in Wichita Falls. It seems like it would be perfect T territory (well, for a desert dweller).
  14. bugguy1

    bugguy1 Arachnosquire Old Timer

    Where about in North Texas is this "spider hill"? I will be in Texas in July and want to photograph tarantulas in their natural environments.
  15. AphonopelmaTX

    AphonopelmaTX Moderator Staff Member

    I remember this! Sorry to disappoint, but the "spider hill" discussed here is in a suburban neighborhood east of Dallas where the tarantulas build their burrows in people's front lawns. Not a good place to go out and photograph them!