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Tarantula Spider (burrow)


tarantula spider burrow photo © by Mike Plagens

This tarantula's burrow was photographed on 25 Aug. 2002 n. Carefree, Arizona at an elev. of 1020 m in chaparral habitat.

Therophosidae -- Tarantula Spider Family

Aphopelma tarantula spider photo © by Mike Plagens

Photographed at Spur Cross Ranch Conservation Area, Cave Creek, Maricopa Co., Arizona, USA. October 2009.

Notice that there is fresh spider silk within the burrow opening shown at left. The collection of loose thatch around the burrow entrance to which silk strands are attached likely helps in sending vibration signals from potential prey and predators down to the below-ground spider. The spider will emerge to capture a cricket, etc. that passes near the burrow entrance.

Photo © by Mike Plagens

This tarantula male was photographed in Haunted Canyon in Gila County, Arizona. Haunted Canyon is at the eastern end of the Superstition Mountains at an elevation of 1300 m.. Oct. 26, 2002 with a CoolPix 990.

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Upon maturity, males leave the safety of their burrows in search of females. Male spiders feed little and soon waste away and die -- if they don't fall vicitm to an insectivous predator such as a skunk or an owl first. The spider holds it's abdomen up because it is covered with irritating hairs ... a pretty good defense against sensive tongues and noses. There are dozens of taratula species. The mature male above is 20 mm long. Held in front of the spider's head are two pedipalps with enlarged tips -- this characteristic identifies this as a male spider. The pedipalps are used for copulation.

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2010