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Southern Colorado’s tarantulas are disappearing — and climate change is a big part of it – Denver, Colorado

Denver, Colorado 2021-09-20 08:00:46 –

See more southeastern Colorado towns like La Junta around this time of the year Visitor We aim to catch a glimpse of a saucer-sized Texas brown tarantula jumping out of a burrow and running across fields and roads. Looking for a companion..

The eight-legged spectacle may not last long. Scientists say climate change, theft and human development are reducing Tarantula’s population and appearing less every year.

“This is a remarkable numbers game,” said Ryan Jones, a researcher at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. “Compare the photos and you’ll see that few men are looking for love.”

With the death of tarantulas in southeastern Colorado, the domino effect began in the ecosystem, and entomologist Maia Holmes said prey could breed and the creatures that eat it could be hungry.

“Once you cross that border, you can’t go back,” Holmes said.

The Denver Post, Hyun Chan

Myr Holmes, director of the Colorado State University Bug Zoo, poses for a portrait of Texas Brown Tarantula at the Fort Collins Zoo on Thursday, September 16, 2021.

Scientists do not have accurate demographic data because there is no dedicated tarantula-focused group in the region, but Jones holds a PhD in Program Integration and Systems Biology from the University of Colorado Denver. He calls and emails museums every year in that part of the state — people who had a hard time driving tarantulas on the road without crushing them.

Compare that to what a former Holmes colleague, director of the Bug Zoo at Colorado State University, told her. Twenty years ago, he said he would see hundreds of people around Rafunta on a particular day, but “now, if you drive all night, you’ll probably see it 20 or 30 times,” she said.

According to Holmes and Jones, the declining tarantula population serves as an early indicator of worsening climate change in Colorado. Indeed, according to Holmes, climate change is the number one factor in reducing tarantulas. This is because the environment becomes uncomfortable due to rising temperatures and reduced rainfall.

Research suggests Spiders are particularly sensitive to changes in temperature and weather patterns, which can make various species larger and even more aggressive. According to Sérgio Henriques, Co-Chair of the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Spider and Scorpion Specialist Group.

The Denver Post, Hyun Chan

Fort Collins, Colorado – September 16: Texas Brown Tarantura, taken Thursday, September 16, 2021 at Colorado State University Bug Zoo in Fort Collins, Colorado. (Photo courtesy of Hyoung Chang / The Denver Post)

Aphonopelma hentziA species found in southeastern Colorado, it lives south to Texas and west to California. However, because habitats differ so much in the southern and southwestern United States, Holmes and Jones said it was difficult to know if the population would shrink anywhere else.

Here, at least, diseases that can kill tarantulas survive better in warmer climates, and hot days cause spiders to emerge early from their burrows, which is their coveted energy. Burn your reserves. Alternatively, it will appear too late to properly prepare the burrows for the winter, Holmes said.

“And the lack of water means that there are no plants, and without plants there is no prey,” Holmes said. “They can be hungry. They can die of dehydration.”

According to NWS meteorologist Eric Petersen, staff at the National Weather Service in Pueblo calculate a 30-year average of temperature and rainfall in the region every 10 years.

In 2020, it recorded an annual temperature rise of 1.3 degrees Celsius and a decrease in rainfall of about 0.5 inches. This shows the trend of warming and dryness in the region. Normally, according to Petersen, the average temperature for 30 years changes by about a tenth.

“Therefore, 1.3 degrees is a pretty big change,” Petersen said. “And we live in a climate where it rains only 12-14 inches a year, so 0.5 inches is a pretty big drop.”

According to Holmes, tarantulas take eight years to mature, so scientists can take into account fires, droughts, and hot years that kill more adolescents than usual.

“Eight years ago was a really bad year of fire, a really bad year of drought,” she said.

Steve Keefer has lived in southeastern Colorado for about 30 years and said he saw many tarantulas during his time. The district wildlife manager of the State Parks and Wildlife Service said he was unaware that the number of tarantulas appearing in various locations later this year was low. At least one person told him he saw a tarantula north to Colorado Springs.

It usually appears before and after Labor Day, and rarely appears in late August, according to Keefer. Recently, he said, it was late September and early October, which is consistent with warm weather reports.

As of Thursday, Keefer said he had seen only three tarantulas.

Arakunomania and Chaotic Spread

According to Holmes, humans come into play: The more you build, the more tarantulas inhabit and cut into the digging habitat.And especially since then Report on the existence of tarantulas It spread nationwide in 2019 and there was an increase in people Scoop them up Keep it as a pet or take it home for illegal sale Black market..

Southern Colorado’s tarantulas are disappearing — and climate change is a big part of it Source link Southern Colorado’s tarantulas are disappearing — and climate change is a big part of it

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