How to collect American trapdoor spiders?

Hydrophilus

Arachnopeon
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Aug 18, 2015
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We don't have any trapdoor spiders in my area, but I'll be in southern Kentucky this holiday weekend and am hoping to make a couple forays to look for and collect Myrmekiaphila and Antrodiaetus. I've seen Myrmekiaphila, Cyclocosmia, and Ummidia in a number of places in the gulf coast before, so I know the kind of habitat to look for, but I have never tried to collect them.

Does anyone here have experience collecting these genera? I'd prefer not to dig up the whole burrow. I have heard of people taking a knife or trowel and quickly slicing up and into the bank a few inches behind a burrow entrance, preventing the spiders from backing all the way down their burrows, but obviously that only works when they are waiting at their entrance. Has anyone tried pouring water down a burrow to "flush" them out? That seems like a far less destructive method that would also enable collecting during the day.

Thanks in advance!
 

squidkid

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water, for me did not work with Bothriocyrtum californicum. i ended up having to dig the about half of the burrow out, after that the lining collapsed and i was able to just pull the liner out with the spider inside.
 

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Hydrophilus

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Thanks for the reply! I spoke to a friend that has some experience with collecting trapdoors and he stated something similar. I'd hate to do so much digging in their habitat, but I guess that's just how it's done. Nice find on the Bothriocyrtum btw, I'm quite envious! With some luck I might try to swing through part of California next January to search for some.

Unfortunately I was unable to find access to good trapdoor habitat this past weekend. Every place I had picked out on google ended up being a park, posted, or completely obscured by ground vines. I'll give it another go later this summer!
 

squidkid

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it didn't take very long to dig her out, maybe 10 mins max. the burrow was not as deep as i have seen described, 8-10 inches probably. but this specimen was smallish. the abdomen being slightly bigger than a penny in circumference.
 

Hydrophilus

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Thanks for the reply, @squidkid. 10 minutes isn't too much of a time commitment to exchange for a trapdoor spider. Was there much permanent damage to the surrounding habitat by your efforts?
 

squidkid

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Thanks for the reply, @squidkid. 10 minutes isn't too much of a time commitment to exchange for a trapdoor spider. Was there much permanent damage to the surrounding habitat by your efforts?
while there was no visible damage to surrounding burrows there was a shallow hole about ~1.5-2 feet in diameter
 

squidkid

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Please let me know if you are interested in selling. I've been trying to find some for sale for awhile now..
although i have access to a large quantity of wild specimens i don't have interest in selling. i think its a bit immoral to take wild spiders and make money on them. sorry and i wish you luck in finding or purchasing some of your own
 

charlesbrooks

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Apr 23, 2011
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although i have access to a large quantity of wild specimens i don't have interest in selling. i think its a bit immoral to take wild spiders and make money on them. sorry and i wish you luck in finding or purchasing some of your own
I can respect, and completely understand your decision, thanks..
 

Smokehound714

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you can actually get cork lid spiders out by opening their door, then as they rush out to close it, hold it til they dig their fangs in, then carefully pry it open- they usually will not let go. if you can expose the spider enough to poke its spinnerets, it should dart out and try to flee, making capture simple. I never dig trapdoors up, it's a waste of energy, just get to em at night when they open their doors, and you might simply be able to lure them out by dragging a stick around

switch to red light so they dont get spooked, it's WAY easier.
 

squidkid

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Apr 18, 2019
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you can actually get cork lid spiders out by opening their door, then as they rush out to close it, hold it til they dig their fangs in, then carefully pry it open- they usually will not let go. if you can expose the spider enough to poke its spinnerets, it should dart out and try to flee, making capture simple. I never dig trapdoors up, it's a waste of energy, just get to em at night when they open their doors, and you might simply be able to lure them out by dragging a stick around

switch to red light so they dont get spooked, it's WAY easier.
thanks that helps a lot.
 
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