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Southern California Invert Hunting...

Discussion in 'Field Trips (Natural Habitats)' started by GQ., Jan 14, 2008.

  1. GQ.

    GQ. Arachnodemon Old Timer

    We have had much better winter rainfall in San Diego County than we did last year. The heavy rains usually mean it is a good time to find invertebrates. Yes, even in the winter! I have hit the trails for the last few weekends. I have also found several new areas that I am now smitten with. Below are a few photos of my winter excursions. I have tried to post a variety of different species so as not to bore everyone with my many Southern California posts.

    Oak Habitat

    This pretty little Aphonopelma was found while lifting rocks. I rarely find tarantulas while flipping rocks or debris in the San Diego area.

    This is the rock the tarantula was found under after I replaced the rock. This is what all flipped rocks should look like when you leave an area.

    Another flipped tarantula. Most likely Aphonopelma eutylenum type in a completely different area.
  2. GQ.

    GQ. Arachnodemon Old Timer

    Rocky Habitat

    P. silvestrii burrow. I don't have any decent photos of the surrounding habitat on this one. It is quite a bit different than the above habitat shots.

    Vaejovid? This one was quick with the telson. This was found under a rock in the same area as the P. silvestrii burrows.
  3. GQ.

    GQ. Arachnodemon Old Timer

    Uta sp.

    A Herper's dream - This piece will definitely have a California Kingsnake and a Southern Pacific Rattlesnake or two or three when March rolls around.

    Eumeces sp.

    There are A LOT of millipedes out this time of year.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2008
  4. GQ.

    GQ. Arachnodemon Old Timer

    I have been wanting to find a cocoon in a trapdoor spider to see what emerges ever since I saw the below wasp waiting for a trapdoor to emerge.

    ...I didn't want to have to dig up several trapdoor burrows to find one though. I lucked out and saw the top of a cocoon down a trapdoor burrow.

    I dug out the entire trapdoor spider burrow tube in very wet soil.

    This is a photo of the orange cocoon. You can see the remains of the tarantula with a bit of fuzz growing on it in the bottom of the tube.

    A better shot of the cocoon. I will post photos if anything emerges.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. aliceinwl

    aliceinwl Arachnosquire Old Timer

    Great shots! Your "Sceloporus sp." is actually a side-blotched lizard (note the dark patch behind the elbow and granular scales): Uta stansburiana ;)

  6. GQ.

    GQ. Arachnodemon Old Timer

    Ugh. I knew better than that. Thanks for the correction and thank you for the compliment.

    Here are a couple Sceloporus from last season to make up for my error. :)


    Last edited: Jan 15, 2008
  7. cacoseraph

    cacoseraph ArachnoGod Old Timer


    i caught Scolopendra polymorpha on xmas day last year =P
  8. ronin

    ronin Arachnosquire

    Awesome pics as usual Gil. The Sceloporus takes are hilarious.
  9. GQ.

    GQ. Arachnodemon Old Timer

    Thanks cacoseraph and ronin.

    I found a nice sized S. polymorpha on Christmas eve last year. The weather was too nice to not take a hike. The only photo I took turned out horribly or I would have shared.

    I caught the male lizard, with the regenerating tail, so my daughter could take a closer look at him. I had to set the male lizard down so I could grab my camera. It stayed propped up in the grass in a similar position. I thought it was funny so I sat it upright for the photo. I posed the female for the same shot when I found it a few weeks later.
  10. GQ.

    GQ. Arachnodemon Old Timer

    We hit up the area with the are above with all the rocks this weekend. The temperatures were right under 70 degrees F. I was hoping to see a some Red Diamond rattlesnakes as the habitat looked perfect. Luck was on our side and a beautiful Crotalus ruber female was found under a rock.

    Crotalus ruber coiled up in situ.

    Crotalus ruber uncoiled with a darkling beetle. The darkling beetle had been resting, or perhaps trapped, within the coils.

    Crotalus ruber out in the open.
  11. UrbanJungles

    UrbanJungles Arachnoprince

    WOW...Very very Nice!!!!!!!!!
    :drool: :drool: :rolleyes:

    I have to get out there!
  12. Fince

    Fince Arachnoknight Old Timer

    LoL, the beetle chose serious bodyguard! Very nice pictures, thank you for sharing!!! [​IMG]
  13. Oasis Inverts

    Oasis Inverts Arachnobaron Old Timer

    Those are great pic's......
  14. GQ.

    GQ. Arachnodemon Old Timer

    Thanks everyone! I occasionally miss having four seasons, but finding a rattlesnake in January sure is nice. :)
  15. josh_r

    josh_r Arachnoprince Old Timer

    very nice ruber as well as the rest of your pics! do you ever run into ensatine e. klauberi while your out?? or aniedes lugubris??

    i am going to be doing a trip through california from diego all the way to the oregon border in march. will be looking for many salamander species (hydromantes and B. campi particularly) dont worry, not to collect, just to photograph. i am also excited to hit some of my old stomping grounds in the bay area. my main goal is to find and collect a few calisoga theveneti. i have found one years ago and it was an amazing spider. maybe while i am in the diego area we can meet up. i do want to collect 2 species while im there that i havnt found in a couple years. cryptethum and what i believe is reversum. though cryptethum is considderably north of you, it is a species worthy of the trip.

    i have a question for ya. B. californicum is a, more less, a low evelation, coastal scrub species from what i understand. i am aware of inland populations as far as arizona, but my question is can they be found at high elevations into the pine line? above 6000 ft?? i was in some pine forest directly east of you looking for ensatina e. klauberi and i found a very large trapdoor burrow that had been abandoned. i hear there is another species that gets very large in the area but i have no idea what species it could have been without actually seeing the animal. maybe you know something about this.
  16. GQ.

    GQ. Arachnodemon Old Timer

    Hi Josh,

    I haven't done much hiking in salamander territory. I find Batrachoseps sp. in the back yard and that is about the extent of my salamander finds in this state.

    I have not really done much exploring in the higher elevation areas. I will make it a point to do some searching in the higher elevations this year. I don't know if B. californicum is up that high or not.

    Send a message to me before you hit San Diego. I'm usually up for a hike if I have some free time.

  17. Triprion

    Triprion Arachnopeon Arachnosupporter

    Josh -
    I grew up in San Diego; if you are going there in search of trapdoor spiders I can give you a locality where they have always been abundant...email me for more info. Also, I have seen all of the western salamanders so if you need info...
  18. Noexcuse4you

    Noexcuse4you Arachnodemon Old Timer

    Sorry to hijack your thread.

    I hiked around mission trails last week. I kept finding these holes in the ground, but when I flooded them nothing came up except for one that had a widow living inside of it. I don't know if they were abandoned tarantula holes or what. They were too small to be a gopher or mole. I also did some rock flipping. I didn't really find anything but a mole cricket, Kukulcania (I think) slings and adults.

    I also hiked around Sycamore Canyon this past weekend. There was lots of reptile life. I found the first horned lizard I'd ever seen in real life! It was pretty exciting! I also came across a dead long-nosed snake laying on the trail. Poor little guy. Some biker probably ran over it.

    Here's some pics...

    The hole.


    The horned lizard

    Kukulcania slings

    Kukulcania adult
  19. josh_r

    josh_r Arachnoprince Old Timer

    those burrows look to be carolina wolf spider burrows. wolf spiders tend to make a collar of grass or other debris around the hole and web it up with very tough single strands of silk woven together. tarantulas have a ver soft silky white web that almost falls apart when you grab it. i would definitely say that is a carolinensis burrow. the last spider "adult kukulcania" looks like a loxosceles actually. very good pics tho. where abouts do u live??

  20. Noexcuse4you

    Noexcuse4you Arachnodemon Old Timer

    I live in san diego.
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