Arizona the land of tarantulas and Scorpions

When we headed towards Arizona there was a gradual change of landscape from the humid wet pine forests in Blackwater State parks to shrub, scrub, and desert. Cacti became more common along with Agave plants as the landscape became progressively drier, the dry heat was a welcoming change from humidity. The change in flora was dramatic as well, with the landscape d dominated with wasps, ants and arachnids. On our first night we found a large hairy scorpion with the help of a UV flashlight, it was amazing to see the bright neon green glows of the body in contrast to the dark sands of the desert nightscape.

On the second night I spotted a glint of web and the tips of hairy legs leading me to an tarantula burrow, after half an hour with spade and shovels, two false chambers we finally reached the main chamber. I was delight to finally see the full body of the tarantula with a blond body and a black abdomen, it was almost the size of my hand with its leg outstretch and it was beautiful. Other neat arachnids we found were whip spiders (Amblypygi) and Sun spiders (Solifugae). I can’t wait to see what else the desert has in store.

-Chris

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