Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Charlotte Sartre: My 10 Favorite Spider Species

Charlotte Sartre aka Goth Charlotte presents a list of her favorite species of spiders.

10. Grammastola Pulchripes

This stunner is commonly known as the Chaco Golden Knee. They are a slow-moving, docile species with itchy urticating hairs. (microscopic hairs with tiny barbs at the end that they either shed as a defense mechanism or come off involuntarily when you pet the spider). This species was the first tarantula I ever got so it holds a special place in my heart. I named my first one, who’s still pretty small, Angel of course after my favorite and the HOTTEST former Giants player, Angel Pagan. He’s taking a year off baseball right now to spend time with his family. I hope it’s only a year and that he doesn’t retire next season, but he’s getting old. He’s only 35 but that’s like, 85 in baseball player years. Anyway, I also have a full-grown G. Pulchripes that my friend Alex gave to me when she moved out of her place and needed to find a home for him. I named him Draymond after Draymond Green, the Golden State Warriors’ power forward and offensive testicle-kicker.

9. Grammastola Pulchra

In my opinion, the Brazilian Black is the most beautiful, velvety, and goth-looking species of tarantula. I have one named Marlon after a former Giants player. They are a docile, gentle, and slow-growing species. I used to have two, one was a spiderling I received as a gift from a porn director. They bought it online for the scene thinking it was going to be a full grown adult and it arrived as a tiny little baby. I was living in San Francisco at the time and had flown to LA for the shoot, so I smuggled it on the plane with me in my carry-on. For some reason one day it stopped eating no matter how often I offered food. I thought it was perhaps fasting in preparation of molting (spiders have to get skinny before they can squeeze out of their exoskeleton) so I thought nothing of it. One day I found it motionless with its legs curled up under themselves and I cried so fucking much and felt immense guilt. I don’t know what I did wrong, or if it was something out of my control. Infant/spiderling mortality is common and these things happen sometimes for no explicable reason but it’s still heartbreaking. I miss my little spiderling so much. Rest in peace baby.

8. Ceratogyrus Darlingi

This is commonly known as the Horned Baboon Tarantula for the ridiculous, goofy-ass looking horn on its carapace. This species is found in Africa, mostly Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa specifically. They are a terrestrial, burrowing species. I had a spidering C. Darlingi for a short period of time that I received as a gift with another tarantula I purchased online. He or she didn’t live very long because I went out of town and my auntie took care of it, mistakenly gave this desert-dwelling species too much water and a combination of excess humidity and probable mold growth killed my baby. I was very sad over the loss and upset. Maybe one day I’ll have another and try again but I’m not ready to move on yet. Rest in peace baby.

7. Poecilotheria Metallica

This beautiful species is commonly known as the Gooty Sapphire Ornamental. They are only found in India. They are an arboreal species requiring lots of humidity and height to climb around on and they build a network of webs like nobody’s business. So far, the P. Metallica is the only Old World species of tarantula that I own. Tarantulas can mainly be divided into two groups: New World and Old World. New World includes North and South America and tarantulas from that part of the world are generally less aggressive and more defensive, meaning they’re more likely to use urticating hairs as a defense mechanism and biting as a last resort, far less venomous, and have slightly easier care requirements.

6. Lycosidae

Now, I’m moving on from tarantulas to true spiders because they are also hella intriguing to me. Wolf spiders belong to the family Lycosidae. They are fairly large and while mostly non-aggressive, their venom is poisonous to humans and a bite from one of these can be very painful. I’ve only seen one once, as a teenager. It was slowly and nonchalantly crawling across my bedroom curtain, just not giving a fuck. That’s the only time I’ve ever been scared of a spider in my entire life, due to the sheer size of it and its goddamn attitude. I did not sleep in my bedroom for an entire month after that, even though they can live up to 11 years given the correct habitat/environment. I did not know this at the time nor did I know of its venom toxicity but I’m glad I followed my instinct after encountering one.

5. Argiope Aurantia

These beauties are commonly known as black-and-yellow garden spiders. They are harmless to humans and create gorgeous, intricate webs for humans to appreciate and enjoy from afar. These stunning creatures sit in the center of their web, waiting for prey. They are so astonishingly pretty and the talented for the artistic webs they weave.

4. Agelenopsis spp.

These are known as grass spiders or funnel weavers. They are timid and non-aggressive, and downright cute as hell. You can often find them in… grass, obviously, or in bushes where they build tunnel-like webs where they wait for their prey. NOT to be confused with the dangerous funnel web spider of Australia. These little sweeties are harmless to humans! In grass, they run around really quick and are adorable to watch. I’ve never had the pleasure of watching one feed on prey but I would imagine that it’s an endearing site. If you see any of these little friends in your yard or garden, please welcome them.

3. Phidippus Audaux

This is a common, yet strikingly beautiful type of jumping spider found widespread throughout the US and Canada. I love their black bodies with fuzzy white little stripes on the legs, and they have a cute white spot on the back of their abdomen. Not to mention those gorgeous green fangs and beautiful eyes! I used to keep all kinds of jumping spiders as pets when I was a child and these have always been my favorite. Jumping spiders are the most intelligent of all species of spider because they mathematically calculate their jump trajectories. Awesome!

2. Steatoda Grossa

I’ve enclosed two pictures of this fascinating species because the males look very interesting and have a different personality. The Steatoda Grossa is known as the false widow because they look so much like black widows, except that they’re brown. Not to be confused with the brown widow, which has striped legs and the tell-tale red hourglass on the underside of its abdomen. Male Steatoda Grossa are most often seen at night when they come out searching for mates. Female Steatoda Grossa mostly keep to their webs and guard any egg sacs they may have. Unlike the true black widow, their venom is very mild and harmless to humans. I also love the males of this species because they have a cute and unmistakable smiley shape-esque pattern on the back of their abdomen. Once as an experiment I put a male steatoda grossa in with one of my female latrodectus mactans hoping they would perhaps mate and create a new species of spider. As soon as I dropped him in the enclosure she charged at him, wrapped him in her web and drained his life in an instant. A sad story of unrequited love between arthropods or human foolishness? You be the judge.

1. Latrodectus Mactans

One of the most beautiful and definitely the most understood and feared species of spider. I love black widows. I used to breed them when I was 17 and 19. I kept them in their own separate enclosures and would let them crawl all over my hands and arms. They are very shy creatures and immediately wanted to be back in their enclosures because they were afraid. I’ve never been bitten by one or any spider at all in the history of my entire life. The female black widow only needs to mate once and from then on she can store enough sperm to fertilize all the eggs she will ever produce. I think that’s very inspiring. When one of the black widows I kept as a 17-year-old had an egg sac I thought it would be nice to release her and her babies into the wild. My twin brother offered to do it so I let him. Later on I found out that instead of releasing her, he and his cunt friend stepped on her and her unborn babies, heartlessly murdering them both. I cried for days and days until I got my first tarantula to fill the void left in my heart. That void still hasn’t been filled I think because now I have 8 tarantulas and I keep getting more.

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