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Dspdrew's Desert Tarantula (Aphonopelma iodius)

western desert tarantula aphonopelma chalcodes joshua tree national park mojave desert spider

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#1 Offline dspdrew - Posted December 5 2014 - 8:18 PM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

This was the first Desert Tarantula (Aphonopelma iodius) I found, but it died last year. This was a mature male, so it supposedly shouldn't have lived very long. The females can live for a very long time after they're mature.
 
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I found a young female one last summer and still have her now. I dug her out of a small burrow in the ground near Joshua Tree National Park. I quickly threw together an aquarium for her with some potting soil. I made her a nice little burrow with a rounded piece of bark, but she just dug a hole under it and made a big burrow of her own all the way down on the bottom of the tank. Supposedly these things can dig some pretty deep burrows. I'm still wondering how they can dig these holes in the rock hard dirt. She did a good job digging her hole in this container, even though I never actually saw her doing any digging. This was potting soil though, so it was pretty soft.
 
I made her a new container with dirt I actually got from the desert where I found her. I wet it all down, so it should dry hard like the desert floor. I started a little hole for her in hopes that she'll decide to make that her home and dig her burrow there.
 
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Here's she is eating a Katydid in her old potting soil container.
 


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#2 Offline Artimusclydeperez - Posted December 5 2014 - 8:24 PM

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So sick. That's a beautiful taranchula man



#3 Offline dspdrew - Posted December 5 2014 - 8:32 PM

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  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

Thanks. :)



#4 Offline Chromerust - Posted December 6 2014 - 12:49 PM

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Well that was pretty cool. Has it grown much? It's hard to tell

#5 Offline dspdrew - Posted December 6 2014 - 2:30 PM

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  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

A little. It molted once.



#6 Offline kellakk - Posted December 11 2014 - 1:34 PM

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Are you sure she's A. chalcodes? From what I remember A. chalcodes isn't found in California. She may be either Aphonopelma iodius or Aphonopelma eutylenum.  

 

Nice enclosure, btw. She'll probably be very comfortable there.


Current Species:
Novomessor cockerelli (2), Brachymyrmex patagonicus (1)Veromessor pergandei (1?), Dorymyrmex bureni (1)


#7 Offline dspdrew - Posted December 12 2014 - 2:43 PM

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  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

Thanks. And you are right. She is Aphonopelma iodius. I don't know how I came to the conclusion that she was A. chalcodes. Do you know if they actually dig the deep burrows in the really hard dirt, or are just claiming it from some rodent? I was hoping she would dig one in this new enclosure I made for her.



#8 Offline kellakk - Posted December 13 2014 - 3:30 PM

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They definitely dig their burrows themselves, but I think they do it while they're young and then expand it. I haven't seen any wild-collected adults dig their own burrows.  


Current Species:
Novomessor cockerelli (2), Brachymyrmex patagonicus (1)Veromessor pergandei (1?), Dorymyrmex bureni (1)


#9 Offline dspdrew - Posted December 13 2014 - 3:38 PM

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  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

Ah, thanks for the info. The first container I had this tarantula in had potting soil in it, and she dug a pretty deep burrow. That was really soft dirt though, so maybe I'll have to get this one started myself.



#10 Offline kellakk - Posted December 13 2014 - 4:18 PM

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What you could do is wet the dirt down until it's soft, and keep a lamp over the enclosure until the tarantula digs a burrow and the enclosure dries.


Current Species:
Novomessor cockerelli (2), Brachymyrmex patagonicus (1)Veromessor pergandei (1?), Dorymyrmex bureni (1)


#11 Offline dspdrew - Posted December 13 2014 - 7:54 PM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

That's exactly what I've done. It was mud when I put it in, but it's getting drier every day. Any idea how they dig? Do they use their fangs? That's what I can't figure out.



#12 Offline kellakk - Posted December 13 2014 - 8:39 PM

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Yup, fangs.  Those fangs are extremely hard, they can dig into the hardest clay if they want.


Current Species:
Novomessor cockerelli (2), Brachymyrmex patagonicus (1)Veromessor pergandei (1?), Dorymyrmex bureni (1)


#13 Offline dspdrew - Posted December 24 2014 - 11:35 PM

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  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

Well she finally dug her nest. She dug right into the hole that I got started for her. I just placed a water bowl over it so she would hide right where it was and hopefully decide to move in. It took almost three weeks for her to finally do this.

 

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I even caught her digging on video.

 


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#14 Offline dspdrew - Posted February 14 2015 - 2:05 PM

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  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

It looks like she just doubled the size of her burrow judging by the size of the dirt mound I just found outside her hole when I got home from work yesterday.



#15 Offline Michaelofvancouver - Posted February 14 2015 - 5:43 PM

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Wow, you have so many cool pets you can find in the wild in California.

 

It would be awesome if there were tarantulas in BC. 


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#16 Offline dspdrew - Posted June 28 2015 - 12:19 PM

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  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

On May 12th the tarantula finally came out of her burro after being in there for about four months. She's been coming out every night since then. She seems very healthy and is eating well. I can see she also molted.

 

Just the other day she decided to dig her burro even larger, because there is now a giant pile of dirt next to the entrance, along with her old skin.

 

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#17 Offline dspdrew - Posted August 12 2015 - 7:03 AM

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  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

A little more than a month ago she went in her burro and closed it off with dirt, but came back out just the other day. I can see she molted while in there. I can also tell how much bigger she has gotten over the last year.



#18 Offline MegaMyrmex - Posted September 30 2017 - 8:05 AM

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Update?
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#19 Offline dspdrew - Posted September 30 2017 - 10:33 AM

dspdrew
  • LocationSanta Ana, CA

The tarantula is still alive and well. She's dug her burro almost all the way around the bottom of the tank by now. I caught a male a few weeks ago near Desert Center and tried mating them, but I don't think it was successful. I think the male might still be too young. I'll keep him and continue trying.

 

I'll see if I can get some pictures later.



#20 Offline FeedTheAnts - Posted September 30 2017 - 1:13 PM

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wow, that is a long lived tarantula! I didn't realize they could live so long.


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Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: western desert tarantula, aphonopelma chalcodes, joshua tree national park, mojave desert, spider

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