Baby's first dwarf Aphonopelma turrets!

CommanderBacon

Arachnobaron
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May 21, 2018
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I went to Joshua Tree National Park this weekend to look for cool bugs and randy male A iodius. While it's early in the season for them and I didn't see any personally, I saw someone on IG had managed to find a fresh looking male in the park.

What I did find, however, was a cluster of dwarf Aphonopelma turrets! I never thought I'd be able to find some on my own, but I kept an eye out. After 5:30pm, I went to look for A iodius and nearly stepped on this:
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It looked like someone had accidentally kicked or stepped on it previously, since it was a little oblong shaped. I was so excited that a couple walking by were like "what did you find?" and I was like, "a dwarf tarantula burrow!" and they looked unimpressed and kept walking.

Anyway, the hole was about a half inch in diameter and went deep down. The turret was softer than it looked and clearly had web in the center - very obviously a dwarf Aphonopelma. I believe that it was A joshua, but I understand that A mojave are also found in the area, so I have no idea which it could have been.

About 15 feet away, we found another two, a little over a foot away from each other:
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One was almost an inch in diameter and the other was about 1/3" in diameter.

We didn't have any luck teasing the spiders out, but I believe the burrows are extremely deep. I shone a flashlight down one and could not see the bottom.

Still, as a person who loves dwarf Aphonopelma, I was thrilled to be able to find these! It totally made my weekend.
 

Matt Man

Arachnobaron
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Jul 4, 2017
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super cool find, how cool would it have been to see a few Ts in those
 

CommanderBacon

Arachnobaron
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May 21, 2018
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359
super cool find, how cool would it have been to see a few Ts in those
I wish! I brought only one gallon of water to try to flush them out. I felt bad about harassing the spiders just to get a look at one, but I picked one turret to try. The hole was so deep and the soil so porous it took all the water and there was no sign of a spider!

It was really exciting to see them, though! I haven't seen any tarantulas in the wild before. It was my main purpose for going out, since it was the beginning of mating season, but other than one male that someone else took a photo of and uploaded to Instagram the same day, I didn't see any myself. I think I went out a week too early. Oh well! I got a lot of photos of other creatures, such as this southern desert horned lizard and a desert iguana.

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I also saw a group of desert quail, roadrunners, desert cottontails, and a black tailed jackrabbit. Nature was putting on a show for me. Still, the turrets made my weekend!
 
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