• Sunrise at the Cholla Cactus Garden

    Joshua Tree

    National Park California

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  • Cottonwood Trails Closed

    Trail access remains closed to Cottonwood Spring Oasis, Lost Palms Oasis, and Mastodon Peak. More »

  • Pinto Basin Road Under Construction; Expect 30+ Minute Travel Delays

    Visitors should expect 30+ minute waits when heading north and sound bound on the Pinto Basin Road. Due to construction activity around Cottonwood Visitor Center, additional waits of 30 minutes may be in place when leaving the visitor center parking lot. More »

  • Deteriorating conditions of Black Rock Canyon Road

    The road leading to Black Rock campground has deep potholes, is deeply rutted, and can be difficult to negotiate, especially in large vehicles. Please drive with caution.


Family Theraphosideae
Genus & Species Aphonopelma iodium
Description body 2 to 3 inches; 4 inch legs; color is brown to black; covered with thousands of fine hairs. Besides its eight legs, the basic sections of a tarantula's body are its cephalothorax (a fused head and thorax, or chest) and its abdomen. It also has eight closely set eyes.
Food insects like beetles and grasshoppers, small lizards and mice; Tarantulas chase down their prey rather than snaring it in webs. Sensitive hairs on the spider's body allow it to detect subtle movements in its immediate environment and "home in" on a victim.
Life History mates in fall; litter size is 500 to 1000; females may live 20 years or more; males may be eaten during mating; solitary, living one to a burrow
Habitat Joshua tree forest; creosote scrub
Activity When cornered by a predator, the tarantula will rub its hind legs over its abdomen, brushing hairs into its enemy's eyes.
Conservation Status common
Where to look Oasis of Mara, Split Rock, Wilson Canyon
Notes These shy giants are reluctant to attack humans and their venom is no worse than a bee sting.

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Did You Know?

Red Spotted Toad

The red-spotted toad is a true denizen of the desert, where it spends most of its life underground. Found from one end of the park to the other, it appears after good, soaking rains. More...