Entomology (Study of Bugs)/Tarantula invasion!


When I was a kid, about 45 years ago, I was driving in the hills above Malibu and noticed, there were so many tarantulas walking across the road.  In fact, there was a tarantula every six inches for miles and miles.  They were in the bushes, on the road, in the dirt, they were everywhere.

The next day they were gone and I've never seen another tarantula in the wild since.  I've spent all these decades wondering what happened and nobody else saw it except me.

What was that?

Hello Matthew,

Thank you for the great question! You saw a tarantula migration. Once a year, in the fall, male tarantulas that are about 7 years old will come out of their holes and migrate very long distances looking for mates. They usually die during this time, but hopefully not before they mate. The females stay in or near their holes and live much longer. It is pretty uncommon to spot tarantulas in the wild unless they are migrating males. If you see a lot of them migrating at once, it is easy to assume they are traveling together-- however, they are on a solo mission.


Entomology (Study of Bugs)

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Jessica Mellinger


I can answer questions about invertebrates native to California, including insects commonly found in homes. If you have an identification request, please attach a photo to your question.


I was involved in collection and identification of invertebrates for the United States Geological Survey, Biological Resources Division for six years. Also, I provided these same services intermittently for the UC Davis John Muir Institute of the Environment for many years. I have been a member of AllExperts.com since 2009.

Department of the Interior: United States Geological Survey, Davis Field Station; University of California, Davis Aggie Alumni Association; UC Davis Center for Neuroscience; U.S. Department of Veteran's Affairs

I have two B.A.'s from the University of California, Davis and two Associate's degrees from Sacramento City College.

Awards and Honors
Special Thanks for Achieving Results award from the Department of the Interior

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