Tarantulas: listening to love – albuquerque journal
Copyright Â© 2021 Albuquerque Journal
CERRILLOS – In Italy, from the 1500s to the 1700s, the bite of a tarantula was believed to cause hysteria, the victims of which were healed by frenzied dances, giving rise to the lively folk dance called the Tarentella.
But no one was bitten and no frenzied dancing was evident last week when nearly 100 people showed up for a 1 Â½ mile, 1 Â½ hour guided tour / hike at Cerrillos Hills State Park, all of them with an interest in the topic of the day: tarantulas.
Eighty-seven people of all ages hiked and listened intently as Park Superintendent Peter Lipscomb led the hike and at stops along the way gave humorous, lively talks about fuzzy creatures.
“It’s one of those things that is special to be here in New Mexico, just like the smell of roasted chili in the fall, the turning of aspen leaves, there are things that we really care about. get used to it and sort of set our own personal little calendars with it, and tarantulas – out for a mating season – are, for some people, one of them, â€Lipscomb told the crowd.
He warned that he could not predict the behavior of the wildlife to appease hopes and none of the creatures were sighted.
This is an annual event, but the first held since 2019. While many locals showed up, Pattie Chouinard and Cheryl Rodzen, both paralegals from Connecticut, on a two-week tour of the New Mexico, generated enough interest to come down from Santa Fe. Rodzen is a huge fan of the Green Bay Packers and the duo were looking for some post-game activity.
We saw it on a website, Chouinard said. â€œWe were looking for something today and we are staying in Santa Fe, and we were thinking of taking a trip to Madrid and walking around, and it came up and it happened today,â€ she said.
â€œWe love it here (New Mexico),â€ Rodzen said, noting that this was their fourth or fifth visit. “We certainly don’t (tarantulas) in Connecticut, and we’ve seen two so far on this trip.” These have been spotted in southern New Mexico. â€œWe thought it would be a good time to maybe see more of it,â€ Rodzen said.
After a short walk on the road to the trailhead, Lipscomb stopped to address the group. After correcting someone’s claim that tarantulas migrated (they didn’t), a man explained why they were out now: “Looking for love.”
â€œIt’s mating season, seek the woman,â€ Lipscomb said, adding a touch of romance to romantic endeavors. â€œThat’s why tarantulas are active this time of year,â€ he said.
Before leading the group up a moderately steep trail under a deep blue autumn sky, Lipscomb pulled out a glass frame containing “Mr. Boris,” a male tarantula from the Western Desert which he spared a road crashed a few years ago. A reporter asked for a close-up photo of “Boris”. It’s “Mr. Boris,” Lipscomb corrected him.
He went into a few anatomical details of arachnids, such as their 10 appendages, and put aside any biological debate on whether or not they are spiders.
Two of these appendages are called pedipalps, like “little hands”, which are what they “use to get things or to move things back and forth”.
Females have much larger abdomens and can live eight to 10 years, while the life expectancy of males, if they can avoid a car, is three to four years.
Lipscomb said he has only seen one female in 12 seasons.
â€œMale tarantulas are the only ones we see at this time of year,â€ Lipscomb said. â€œThey are looking for females, so trying to find a female tarantula is a bit tricky since they are in their burrows and the only way males will find them is usually by drumming which females will do,â€ he said. “If they’re interested in a gentleman calling, they’ll start poking around and making sounds, and the males may be able to spot him.”
Hikers, including Judy Robinson and her husband, Neil, of Santa Fe, seemed to appreciate the camaraderie of the tour and Lipscomb’s expertise.
â€œWe love to hike, anyway, and love taking tours with someone knowledgeable so you can learn something,â€ said Judy Robinson.
Lipscomb called the tarantulas “truly amazing animals” and, using the “Mr. Boris” frame, cards, and a sweet tarantula animal, he regaled the unenlightened with more esoteric anecdotes about tarantulas.
“They have eight eyes, four on the front, one on each side and two on the back,” and they rub their hind legs when in danger to lose barbed hairs which can “irritate and ward off predators potential “.
There seems to be some ambiguity regarding tarantula folklore, as is often the case in folklore. While some sources say it was the bite of a tarantula that sparked hysterical attacks in ancient Italy, Lipscomb takes a slightly different point of view, attributing the frenzy to the wolf spider, which shares some characteristics. tarantula.
“It was actually the wolf spider that caused the level of toxicity that drove people crazy, tarantulas got a bad rap, man, they sure did,” Lipscomb said.
Both spiders have a poisonous sting, but for humans it is generally considered equivalent to a bee sting.
Even the young people in the group gained knowledge of the day in the great outdoors, and perhaps an experience to share with their classmates.
Steven Zappe, 7, of Santa Fe, had dated his father, Christopher. â€œI liked it,â€ Steven said of the hike.
â€œI didn’t know there was a falcon tarantula wasp,â€ he added, alluding to Lipscomb’s description of a tarantula predator.
Robert Gear and his wife, Jolene, of Eldorado, also enjoyed their day. A neighbor, who had already been around the tarantula, told them about it. â€œHiking and nature and so on is always fun,â€ Gear said. “I would have liked to see tarantulas, but we were warnedâ€¦ and now that we know where she is, I guess we could make it out on our own someday.”
Connecticut tourists Pattie Chouinard and Cheryl Rodzen also enjoyed their day and plan to return to the state. â€œIt was a good hike. I guess I had hoped we would see tarantulas, but I learned a lot about them, even though I didn’t see any, â€said Chouinard.
â€œI thought it was very interesting, I think it was a great turnout,â€ said Rodzen. â€œIt was great to see a lot of people, especially the locals, who are interested in the local insects. I’m glad we did.
But how does that compare to Packers-Bears? â€œThe Packers game was a little different,â€ said Rodzen. The Packers stung the Bears, 24-14.