Wildlife of Henry W. Coe State Park
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Hairy Mygalomorph
"Tarantula", Aphonopelma sp.

These large hairy spiders are actually quite harmless to humans.  They bite only when mishandled, and the effect of the bite is similar to that of a bee sting.  Park staff, never ones to cut corners on safety, are so sure of the gentleness of these misunderstood creatures, that they will show visitors how to handle them.

Each fall the park's nonprofit support group, the Pine Ridge Association, hosts a barbecue and TarantulaFest to celebrate large hairy spiders.  This coincides with the time of year that the male spiders are frequently seen wandering about, looking to mate with the females, who stay close to their underground burrows. (The spiders are not on the menu.)

Some scientists do not like to use the name "tarantula" for this group of spiders, for the name is also used for other unrelated spiders.  Hence, California's tarantulas are technically "Hairy Mygalomorphs."

On Blue Ridge.

October 1976.

Photo copyright © by Dave Hildebrand.
Used with permission.

Leg detail from photo below.

Near Black Oak Spring on Blue Ridge.

September 1976.

Photo copyright © by Dave Hildebrand.
Used with permission.

Henry W. Coe State Park, California
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