Joshua Tree National Park

advan

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I went to Joshua Tree and camped for a few nights. We found two species in the park, not too far away from our campsite. Elevation was about 4400ft at the campgrounds.

Aphonopelma iodius






Female in need of a molt. My camping coffee cup is blocking her burrow.




Freshly molted female






The target species was the one named after the park, Aphonopelma joshua. Even though it's a little early for them. We managed to find one female.










Bonus species from Riverside county. We tried this spot last October but they had already plugged their borrows.

Adult female Aphonopelma eutylenum





More pics soon!
 
Last edited:

EulersK

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Great pictures! Thanks for sharing, Aphonopelma never gets old.

How did you lure them out of the burrows? Tickling the entrance with a blade of grass?
 

Moakmeister

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One question I have is whether or not it would be okay for me to catch and bring home tarantulas I find. Obviously since that's a park you're not allowed to, but if I found a tarantula I'd probably bring it home. It's not like it'll miss the big outdoors, tarantulas like it in captivity.
 

Chris LXXIX

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It's not like it'll miss the big outdoors, tarantulas like it in captivity.
Watch well that burrow picture, before. I hardly doubt 5 inches (but sometimes I've saw even less) of substrate are the same.
Don't be a "substrate Scrooge" :troll:
 

JoshDM020

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One question I have is whether or not it would be okay for me to catch and bring home tarantulas I find. Obviously since that's a park you're not allowed to, but if I found a tarantula I'd probably bring it home. It's not like it'll miss the big outdoors, tarantulas like it in captivity.
I actually asked a similar question soon after joining. Heres the link: http://arachnoboards.com/threads/should-i-catch-it.292396/#post-2602723
I got some really good info
 

CWilson1351

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Beautiful photos. I miss living back towards the Western U.S. it made for more interesting camping or day trips.
 

Jeff23

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I love this thread. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.

I actually asked a similar question soon after joining. Heres the link: http://arachnoboards.com/threads/should-i-catch-it.292396/#post-2602723
I got some really good info
One question I have is whether or not it would be okay for me to catch and bring home tarantulas I find. Obviously since that's a park you're not allowed to, but if I found a tarantula I'd probably bring it home. It's not like it'll miss the big outdoors, tarantulas like it in captivity.
Obviously everyone must follow the legal laws.

But the second non-legal law we should follow is to understand how rare the species might be and protect it. Some of them are in short supply and our neglect in scavenging them will help destroy the species. Species like A. chalcodes, A. hentzi, and several others that are common in the hobby cover such a huge geographic areas that retrievals are not hurting them. But that is not the case for many other Aphonopelma. A. joshua would be in trouble but the park protects it. Some like A. catalina, A. chiricahua, A. icenoglei, A. moellendorfi, A. peloncillo, A. phasmus may be in trouble, but it is hard to know the extend of the problem due to lack of funds to monitor them. Part of them have burrows that are also hard to locate when doing population studies.

If you look at Conservation Status for species in this document it will tell you which species are not being found easily in the wild. If we truly love tarantulas we need to protect them in the wild first.
http://zookeys.pensoft.net/articles.php?id=6264

The other problem you will have if you find an Aphonopelma is identifying it. Unless you find it in a geographic area that is known to only have one or two species, you likely won't have a clue whether you are taking a species that is in trouble versus a common one. This same document also provides their geographic regions.
 

viper69

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Dec 8, 2006
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I went to Joshua Tree and camped for a few nights. We found two species in the park, not too far away from our campsite. Elevation was about 4400ft at the campgrounds.

Aphonopelma iodius






Female in need of a molt. My camping coffee cup is blocking her burrow.




Freshly molted female






The target species was the one named after the park, Aphonopelma joshua. Even though it's a little early for them. We managed to find one female.










Bonus species from Riverside county. We tried this spot last October but they had already plugged their borrows.

Adult female Aphonopelma eutylenum





More pics soon!

Great pics 2 Q's

1. Did you catch any of the super bloom out there, or was it mostly gone?
2. Did you spy any leaf-cutter ants?
 

advan

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Pictures of American tarantulas in the wild never get old! Very nice pictures!
Hopefully more trips in the future will result in more species. :) Like a birders check off list for theraphosids.

Great pictures! Thanks for sharing, Aphonopelma never gets old.

How did you lure them out of the burrows? Tickling the entrance with a blade of grass?
I used water. It is hard to tickle them out during the day time. Tickling is best used at night when they are at the burrow entrance waiting for prey. We went a little early for them so most just opened their burrows from winter and were doing a little spring cleaning. Night time temps were still in the higher 40's and upper 50's. Water during the day is the only way to go with out digging them up, I am against the destroying their burrows for my selfish reasons.

One question I have is whether or not it would be okay for me to catch and bring home tarantulas I find. Obviously since that's a park you're not allowed to, but if I found a tarantula I'd probably bring it home. It's not like it'll miss the big outdoors, tarantulas like it in captivity.
You can not collect in any national parks, state parks, private lands(without permission) etc. I do not collect and do not condone it at all. If you want one spider, fine, it's not going to do much to the population. I would discourage taking adult, breeding females if you have to have one, find a juvenile female you can grow up.

I love this thread. Thank you so much for sharing this with us.





Obviously everyone must follow the legal laws.

But the second non-legal law we should follow is to understand how rare the species might be and protect it. Some of them are in short supply and our neglect in scavenging them will help destroy the species. Species like A. chalcodes, A. hentzi, and several others that are common in the hobby cover such a huge geographic areas that retrievals are not hurting them. But that is not the case for many other Aphonopelma. A. joshua would be in trouble but the park protects it. Some like A. catalina, A. chiricahua, A. icenoglei, A. moellendorfi, A. peloncillo, A. phasmus may be in trouble, but it is hard to know the extend of the problem due to lack of funds to monitor them. Part of them have burrows that are also hard to locate when doing population studies.

If you look at Conservation Status for species in this document it will tell you which species are not being found easily in the wild. If we truly love tarantulas we need to protect them in the wild first.
http://zookeys.pensoft.net/articles.php?id=6264

The other problem you will have if you find an Aphonopelma is identifying it. Unless you find it in a geographic area that is known to only have one or two species, you likely won't have a clue whether you are taking a species that is in trouble versus a common one. This same document also provides their geographic regions.
Considering most species of US Aphonopelma are rather drab, I don't worry too much of overcollection. Many are high elevation species that will be effected by climate change. Dr. Hendrixson mentioned it in last years lecture at ATS. As soon as A. johnnycashi was published and blew up and went viral, I did worry for a bit. Have you seen any of those for sale? ;)

Great pics 2 Q's

1. Did you catch any of the super bloom out there, or was it mostly gone?
2. Did you spy any leaf-cutter ants?
Yes and no. We caught the desert bloom and the rest of California being the greenest I have ever seen. We picked a perfect time to go in that aspect. No leaf-cutters, I usually see those in Tucson in July.
You collect in the park and get caught, you get a hefty fine.
Yes you do. I do not collect and Aphonopelma do not tickle my fancy in captivity, just in the wild. I also take many photos of them going back into their burrows. ;)

Juvenile Aphonopelma eutylenum


Sub-adult Aphonopelma eutylenum




Adult female Aphonopelma eutylenum




I do want to elaborate a bit about ethics when you are out looking for tarantulas. This female A. iodius was the last spider we found before leaving the park. We got her out in the morning sun. After photos were taken, I normally guide them back to their burrows and watch them go in. This girl was not having it, she did not want to go back in. After thinking she may have wanted to warm up a bit(we used cold water to get her out), I guided her to her burrow to where legs I and II where at the edge touching the webbing. We sat with her for 10 minutes in the sun. After ten minutes was up, I lightly touched her butt and she gracefully returned to her burrow. Do you know why we stayed? Ethics. We selfishly got this girl out in the middle of the day against her will for photos. The least we could do is make sure she safely returns to her burrow without getting picked off by a bird, rodent etc. Night time is completely different and I have found spiders four feet away from their burrows waiting for prey.

She needed a molt badly and was the largest(and possibly oldest) Aphonopelma iodius we found. (repeat pics now that you know her story). ;)




On to some more pics.

Here is the first A. iodius we found. Adult female in need of a molt.




Some more of the A. joshua.




Many more of A. eutylenum

Juvenile




Adult female






and bonus burrows of spiders we did not get out.

Spiderling/small juvie


Adult female


Thanks for looking! -Chad
 

Philth

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Great stuff man, although I'm not interested in keeping them in plastic boxes, I am keen on seeing some more of our locals in situ now.

Later, Tom
 

BobBarley

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As soon as A. johnnycashi was published and blew up and went viral, I did worry for a bit. Have you seen any of those for sale? ;)
I know a place near one of the sites they found johnnycashi in the revision... I'll be trying to find some in early summer-ish, but considering I am extremely inexperienced and have never found a t in the wild, I think my chances are slim to none lol. If I do find any I definitely won't be over-collecting or anything.
 

viper69

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Old Timer
Joined
Dec 8, 2006
Messages
11,551
Hopefully more trips in the future will result in more species. :) Like a birders check off list for theraphosids.

I used water. It is hard to tickle them out during the day time. Tickling is best used at night when they are at the burrow entrance waiting for prey. We went a little early for them so most just opened their burrows from winter and were doing a little spring cleaning. Night time temps were still in the higher 40's and upper 50's. Water during the day is the only way to go with out digging them up, I am against the destroying their burrows for my selfish reasons.

You can not collect in any national parks, state parks, private lands(without permission) etc. I do not collect and do not condone it at all. If you want one spider, fine, it's not going to do much to the population. I would discourage taking adult, breeding females if you have to have one, find a juvenile female you can grow up.

Considering most species of US Aphonopelma are rather drab, I don't worry too much of overcollection. Many are high elevation species that will be effected by climate change. Dr. Hendrixson mentioned it in last years lecture at ATS. As soon as A. johnnycashi was published and blew up and went viral, I did worry for a bit. Have you seen any of those for sale? ;)

Yes and no. We caught the desert bloom and the rest of California being the greenest I have ever seen. We picked a perfect time to go in that aspect. No leaf-cutters, I usually see those in Tucson in July.
Yes you do. I do not collect and Aphonopelma do not tickle my fancy in captivity, just in the wild. I also take many photos of them going back into their burrows. ;)

Juvenile Aphonopelma eutylenum


Sub-adult Aphonopelma eutylenum




Adult female Aphonopelma eutylenum




I do want to elaborate a bit about ethics when you are out looking for tarantulas. This female A. iodius was the last spider we found before leaving the park. We got her out in the morning sun. After photos were taken, I normally guide them back to their burrows and watch them go in. This girl was not having it, she did not want to go back in. After thinking she may have wanted to warm up a bit(we used cold water to get her out), I guided her to her burrow to where legs I and II where at the edge touching the webbing. We sat with her for 10 minutes in the sun. After ten minutes was up, I lightly touched her butt and she gracefully returned to her burrow. Do you know why we stayed? Ethics. We selfishly got this girl out in the middle of the day against her will for photos. The least we could do is make sure she safely returns to her burrow without getting picked off by a bird, rodent etc. Night time is completely different and I have found spiders four feet away from their burrows waiting for prey.

She needed a molt badly and was the largest(and possibly oldest) Aphonopelma iodius we found. (repeat pics now that you know her story). ;)




On to some more pics.

Here is the first A. iodius we found. Adult female in need of a molt.




Some more of the A. joshua.




Many more of A. eutylenum

Juvenile




Adult female






and bonus burrows of spiders we did not get out.

Spiderling/small juvie


Adult female


Thanks for looking! -Chad
This was an usually wet year in some places for that state. Typically "super-blooms" occur about once every 10 to 25 years. It takes the right set of conditions, beyond rain for it to happen. The fact that this one occurred in close proximity to another one only a few years ago is just another sign of global climate change. It's time to live on Mars.
 

Jeff23

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Joined
Jul 27, 2016
Messages
621
I know a place near one of the sites they found johnnycashi in the revision... I'll be trying to find some in early summer-ish, but considering I am extremely inexperienced and have never found a t in the wild, I think my chances are slim to none lol. If I do find any I definitely won't be over-collecting or anything.
Maybe you could also travel to Brazil and get a Bumba lennoni and start your music collection.:D
 
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