Collecting Experiences???

Nemesis

Arachnosquire
Old Timer
Joined
Oct 2, 2002
Messages
92
As I mentioned before, I don't have the opportunity to collect Ts in Tallahassee...therefore, I desire to live vicariously through you guys. Would anyone be willing to give details of his/her collecting tips??? I would love to read some!

TIA,
Kelly O
 

Wade

Arachnoking
Old Timer
Joined
Aug 16, 2002
Messages
2,933
I've collected T's in the southwest, so I can tell you a little about American Aphonopelmas. Finding a good area is the trickiest part. Usually, if you see signs of flooding you won't find any T's there. Also, sometimes you will find clusters of burrows along barriers, both man made and natural. There's a spot in AZ where I found dozens of A. chalcodes burrows along the retaining wall of a parking lot (I only collected a few)! I think the wandering females reach that wall and decide "OK, I can't go any farther, I guess I'll burrow here".

It's easier to spot burrows in the daytime, because the females cover the entrance with a veil of silk that shows up as a patch of white a little bigger than a quarter. At night, sometimes you can see the spiders out in the open, usually within a foot or so of the burrow into which they'll pop back in as soon as you shine your flashlight on them.

To get them out, I use water and a metal shiskabob skewer. I bend the round handle of the skewer sligtly and stick it into the hole about 3 inches down. I pour water gently AROUND the hole and let it flow in (I don't pour directly down). If I'm lucky, the spider will be startled to the surface. Usually they won't come out all the way, but hopefully they will get at least as far as the skewer handle. Then I carefully angle the skewer so the round handle blocks the T from retreating and then I gently draw her out by pulling the skewer out. While doing this, it is often helpful to use a hat or other object to shade the hole to keep the spider from running deeper.

The water is not %100 effective. Basically, you need to get the spider out during that period when it's startled by the initial rush. Eventually, the spider decides it would rather deal with the water and will hunker down in the burrow no matter how much water you pour. In the desert habitat, the water is quickly absorbed into the surrounding soil and all the spider has to do is wait for you to run out!

If I can't get the spider out with this method in a few minutes, I generally give up. I don't like to dig...it's damaging to the landscape, plus it is very risky for the spider. If you found one burrow in an area, chances are theirs others nearby if you take the time to look carefully.

I don't think there's any harm in respectful collecting. Just don't tear up the landscape or take more than you really need.

Wade
 
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