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Aphonopelma Tarantula

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Our first night in Yosemite we stopped along the road to spotlight along the soily embankments, and we were lucky to find over a dozen Aphonopelma tarantulas lying in ambush out of their burrows. I’ve been having a hard time identifying them down to species level, but the species with the highest probability of occurrence in that region is A. johnnycashi. Adult males are supposedly black and are named after Johnny Cash who was known as the “Man in Black,” but I’m not sure about the variation from brown to black coloration in this species. The spider pictured below was the first tarantula I have ever seen missing a leg and an eye. For the most part non-arboreal tarantulas tend to be very delicate and do not handle injuries well, but this one seemed to be doing all right at the time.

Photographed in situ [1] unless otherwise stated

For comparison, here is a healthy and plump female, prior to retreating into her burrow.
Photographed after slight disturbance [2]

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