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Look who was spotted crossing the main east-west road yesterday evening!

A male California Ebony Tarantula crossing the road.

This new addition to our invert list is a male fall-breeding California native tarantula, Aphonopelma eutylenum – the California Ebony Tarantula. It is more accurately called Aphonopelmaeutylenum type” as this species has been described by several different validly published names. In the fall, the males go out seeking mates, so be extra careful if you’re driving on the field station.

Another view of the tarantula.

These “eutylenum type” tarantulas were once quite common in the flatlands of southern California, but have been expirpated from most valleys by developement and farming. They are still common in most coastal sage scrub communities, and it appears we have a remnant population at the BFS. They have also been seen next door at the Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden.

Many thanks to Tom Prentice, UCR Entomology, for identification and information about this species.

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