"Some will literally do a dance routine that looks like the YMCA"
September 7, 2019 1:46 PM   Subscribe

Gaggles of tarantulas are emerging from their burrows across the western US on a quest to mate, hunting for love in prairies, foothills and a garage belonging to Kim Kardashian West. From August to October, the eight-legged crawlers go on a walkabout for a once-in-a-lifetime foray to find a partner. The phenomenon is now occurring on a unusually large scale from northern California to Colorado and Texas, shining a light on the arachnids’ remarkable mating behavior, which can involve dancing and cannibalism.
posted by Johnny Wallflower (19 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
which can involve dancing and cannibalism

Just like people!
posted by soundguy99 at 1:55 PM on September 7 [9 favorites]

And just like like people, the mating consists of the male ejaculating on the female’s welcome mat and running away before she kills him
posted by ejs at 2:04 PM on September 7 [5 favorites]

"Gaggle" seems too frivolous a collective noun to be used for tarantulas...
posted by Greg_Ace at 2:14 PM on September 7 [1 favorite]

Tarantula sightings have seemed high this year compared with previous mating seasons

Meanwhile, according to a recent article on Cambodia’s tarantula snack trade, "there are almost no spiders left to hunt."
posted by Wobbuffet at 2:16 PM on September 7



No no no.
posted by sio42 at 2:24 PM on September 7 [3 favorites]

I knew the article was going to have pictures, and I frickin' clicked anyway. It's my own dang fault. I have no beef with spiders, but my attitude towards any that are bigger than a quarter is: do your thing, I wish you well, just please don't ever let me see you doing it?

This has reminded me it's Giant house spider season in my area. Great.
posted by lovecrafty at 2:26 PM on September 7 [1 favorite]

The usual spider whose mating routine is compared to the YMCA is the peacock spider, which is not a tarantula at all. I would dearly love to know which species he's describing there so that I can go hunt down courtship videos.
posted by sciatrix at 2:37 PM on September 7 [5 favorites]

♪ You can get yourself clean, you can have a good meal, you can do whatever you feel ♪
posted by J.K. Seazer at 3:19 PM on September 7 [2 favorites]

It would suit my sense of how these things work, but I couldn't find anything to substantiate my speculation upon seeing this post that the spider which gave its name to the Tarantella, and was thought to be at the root of epidemics of dancing mania, actually did any dancing of its own.
posted by jamjam at 3:24 PM on September 7 [2 favorites]

Metafilter: can involve dancing and cannibalism
posted by Reverend John at 3:36 PM on September 7 [6 favorites]

Predators like birds or tarantula hawk wasps are likely to only grab a few meaty tarantulas as snacks, and the rest can continue on their mission.

Before people freak out about the tarantulas, let’s talk about “tarantula hawk wasps.”

Good lord.

I’ll take the spiders, thanks.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 6:15 PM on September 7 [4 favorites]

Ah yes, the annual "Jesus fuck, the cat has a tarantula, do something!" time of year.

Tarantula's seem unnaturally attracted to house cats, my theory is they encounter them laying on paved surfaces and mistake them for plants. Understandably. And cats looooovvvveee big spiders. End result- fucking cats bringing tarantulas into the house either on purpose or unwittingly as a ride-along buddy.

Fucking cats. And fucking horrific giant spiders.
posted by fshgrl at 11:30 PM on September 7 [8 favorites]

a ride-along buddy.

I hereby demand a remake of The Incredible Journey -- forget the dogs. It would be just tarantulas and cats.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 6:30 AM on September 8 [5 favorites]

I was driving through Red Rock Canyon (outside of Vegas) once, and had to come to a stop because a very large, hairy, man's winter glove was walking calmly across the street.
P.S. it was not a glove.
posted by sexyrobot at 6:51 AM on September 8 [6 favorites]

> P.S. it was not a glove.
Dear Mr. Jordan Peele,
I have got a great idea for a Twilight Zone horror-themed episode featuring Tom Hanks...

posted by Fiberoptic Zebroid and The Hypnagogic Jerks at 8:05 AM on September 8 [1 favorite]

I hereby demand a remake of The Incredible Journey -- forget the dogs. It would be just tarantulas and cats.

Shadow as played by a Mexican Red Knee Tarantula, grave and quiet. Chance the cheerful, gregarious Pinktoe Tarantula, cavorting about the mountains.

yes, yes, good. Gimme. Right now.

ETA oh, you linked the original, with Luath and Bodger--that's fine, it works well enough if Luath is the Pinktoe and Bodger is the Mexican Red Knee, it's an age and dignity thing.

at some point I am going to write a damn essay on the implications and changes of breed and age identity between the original and the Homeward Bound remake central three animals; there's actually some pretty interesting things to say there about conceptions of gender as attached to both Elizabeth's cat and the identity of the dogs themselves, dog breed popularity and cultural associations attached to the dogs, and relationships between dignity and youth as viewed through a lens of those dog breed cultural associations

but right now, dammit, tarantulas
posted by sciatrix at 8:13 AM on September 8 [5 favorites]

I will also take Hammy Hamster , aka Tales of the Riverbank, remade as Terry Tarantula.

As for other character substitutions, G.P. the Guinea Pig could be H.S. the Huntsman Spider.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 9:44 AM on September 8

"Gaggles of tarantulas" is an awesome phrase. Gleeful and terrifying all at once.
posted by doctornemo at 1:22 PM on September 8 [3 favorites]

The tarantulas in California are somewhat docile and its venom is not dangerous, which is why it is a common experience for a teacher to offer to have one walk across your hand in elementary school.

I was recently reading about a very similar looking one in Australia. Except this one is very aggressive and its venom will lead to lots of vomiting.

My imagination couldn't help thinking of a teacher transplanted from California to Australia and offering the kids a similar classroom experience, which, of course, doesn't end well.
posted by eye of newt at 9:30 PM on September 8 [2 favorites]

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