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 Post subject: USA Aphonopelma
PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2007 1:43 am 
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Hi folks -

As of earlier this afternoon, I have been given the "go ahead" by my postdoc advisor to start collecting preliminary data on Aphonopelma for a grant proposal we plan to submit in December. This proposal will emphasize a need for revising the genus (including species in Mexico) and reconstructing a phylogeny. If you start coming across tarantulas in the field, please contact me. I will gladly accept anything from anywhere, but I am especially interested in adults (males and/or females).

Thank you to those that have already sent material! Your willingness to help is greatly appreciated -- you will be recognized for your contributions!


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 Post subject: Re: USA Aphonopelma
PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2007 1:45 am 
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Outstanding! That is great news. Much luck in your research!


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 Post subject: Re: USA Aphonopelma
PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2007 12:47 pm 
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Brent wrote:
Hi folks -

As of earlier this afternoon, I have been given the "go ahead" by my postdoc advisor to start collecting preliminary data on Aphonopelma for a grant proposal we plan to submit in December.

Congratulations Brent. Splendid news! It's a start.



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 Post subject: Re: USA Aphonopelma
PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2007 2:10 pm 
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Brent, I'm very interested in the Project. Aphonopelma are my favorite. I'd be glad to help out wherever possible.



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 Post subject: Re: USA Aphonopelma
PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2007 3:52 pm 
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Brent,

If you don't mind me asking (if'n ya do PM me), but is this an NSF grant or what? I know the ins and outs of the business, but maybe you could share some of the background on how and where one applies to get money for these projects. I'm sure folks don't understand that sometimes money is found as a rider on a biodiversity proposal or whatnot.

Basically, even applying is a tough nut!

Christian



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 Post subject: Re: USA Aphonopelma
PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2007 4:10 pm 
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Awesome Brent! We'll keep our eyes open for you!

Carla


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 Post subject: Re: USA Aphonopelma
PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2007 7:02 pm 
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I should reemphasize that at this stage, we are simply generating preliminary data to be included as part of a grant proposal. Granting agencies want to see demonstrable evidence that the research is worth funding, so I will be busting my tail to get some work done over the next few months (I have to finish writing another manuscript at the moment, however).

This is huge for me -- even the prospects of collecting "preliminary" data excites me to no end, so hopefully the reviewers will see something they like and give us some money! But at this point, there is still a lot of writing and data collecting to be had...


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 Post subject: Re: USA Aphonopelma
PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 2:33 am 
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Brent,
We get huge "migrations" during Oct. of A. Henzi's over here in far West Texas (El Paso) of mostly males. My students always come with a few anxious males they've found around this time...I send them to you if I get any this semester!
-Joshua


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 Post subject: Re: USA Aphonopelma
PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 3:19 am 
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Samples are good, but keep in mind that for DNA and even morphological datasets, only a few specimens are generally needed. An adult pair (1M/1F) should be sufficient under normal circumstances. I suggest that you help encourage your students to simply observe mature males.

thanks for the help, this project has some huge possibilities.


Zach Valois



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 Post subject: Re: USA Aphonopelma
PostPosted: Sat Jun 07, 2008 4:38 pm 
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Brent,

I am working on a working database of sorts with the Arizona tarantula species. Mainly photos, descriptions of habitat, temps, soil humidity, dates, things like that. I will send you specimens and my field notes if your interested. PM or Email me and we can talk more.


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 Post subject: Re: USA Aphonopelma
PostPosted: Sun Jun 08, 2008 9:16 pm 
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Hello,
I'm glad to see someone else taking some initiative on the matter. I strongly suggest that you collaborate with at least "JoshR". We supplied him with a GPS unit for this exact purpose as he has done somewhat extensive field work with Theraphosids of AZ. I have seen too many people over the years say that they were doing the same thing, or even just talk about some very interesting things they have found. In the end 99% of them lose interest and never release any substantial information. Well why waste all of the information? This type of field work can be very difficult and time consuming, not to mention expensive. You collectors are who knows what in the field right now and that needs to be accounted for. So as a student that may work with these animals in the future and as a simple interested laymen, I would be very grateful for you to database your findings and share them within the academic community.

.....now....AZ just needs to make it illegal to sell native species of inverts! An utter travesty in my eyes.

Thanks



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 Post subject: Re: USA Aphonopelma
PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 5:29 am 
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So, I suppose I should post an update to this thread (it's been nearly a year). The original plan was to submit a proposal last January - that didn't happen because I was in the process of doing way too many other things (like finding a job).

Well, I landed an academic position (that I start in August) and I have been busting my tail the past couple months finishing the proposal. Today (well, techinically yesterday now that it is past midnight here) at 8PM, I finished the first draft. I sent it to my collaborator (former graduate advisor) to look at it and make additions/changes. We will submit this bad boy next month for sure! It is 15 pages of why I need to work on Aphonopelma! :D

The preliminary data are pretty cool, too (sorry, can't share it)... I'm hoping the reviewers find it interesting enough to fund!

At any rate, it's about that time of year again. I need specimens!

By the way, Zach, one of the little guys we collected from AZ laid an eggsac last night.


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 Post subject: Re: USA Aphonopelma
PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 5:54 am 
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Zach Valois wrote:
.....now....AZ just needs to make it illegal to sell native species of inverts! An utter travesty in my eyes.


Zach,

While I agree that a functional ban would be perfect, any ban passed at this time would only cause the prices of the native to sky rocket and make collecting them more profitable, and more prone to decimation of colonies.

What we NEED to do is keep records (species specific localities) and flood the hobby here and abroad with CB slings. I mean if one that you and Brent collected yielded an eggsac then there is a chance to get a few 10's to possible hundreds of new CB slings into the hobby. Even with a name like Aphonoplema "Sky Mountain Variant 1", they'd at least be out there growing for future breeding efforts.

At night, when I can't sleep over this stuff, sometimes I think "Oh yeah, most people are lazy and stupid", thus the terrain and lack of locality keeps some populations protected.

The real kicker is if Brent's work gives out the localities of tiny species colonies which endangers them more. It's a tough question.

Christian



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 Post subject: Re: USA Aphonopelma
PostPosted: Mon Jun 09, 2008 6:18 am 
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Christian Elowsky wrote:
The real kicker is if Brent's work gives out the localities of tiny species colonies which endangers them more.


I am in a constant struggle over this - I do not think data should be withheld (it is public domain afterall), but I also don't want the data getting into the wrong hands. I'll do what I think is right at the time.


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 Post subject: Re: USA Aphonopelma
PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2008 1:55 am 
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Jason Bond and I submitted our grant proposal to the National Science Foundation this morning. If the project gets funded, it will be huge! We should know something by late fall.

Keep your fingers crossed and wish us luck!


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 Post subject: Re: USA Aphonopelma
PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2008 2:25 am 
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Good luck Brent! The last NSF proposal I was associated with got turned down, so I wish you better luck than I had. :)


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 Post subject: Re: USA Aphonopelma
PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2008 2:23 pm 
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Zach Valois wrote:
.....now....AZ just needs to make it illegal to sell native species of inverts! An utter travesty in my eyes.


The way to get effective limitations on overcollecting would be to work through the Arizona Game & Fish Department, Non-Game Division. The herpetological society I'm a member of has worked with them on setting bag limits, seasons, etc., on native reptiles. The same could be done for tarantulas. They are open to feedback from the public, but will pay more attention to dedicated societies than to individuals.
Pleas for protection should be supported with data, especially data that shows impact on the populations or environment. Also, outright bans on commercial collecting would need SERIOUS data support. G&F is more amenable to imposing seasonal restrictions and bag limits.

From my own point of view - I'd recommend being sure that restrictions are warranted before requesting them. If the populations really are being impacted - then go for it. But if not, then educating the public on arachnid conservation may be a better way to go. When you lobby for protection laws, you gamble on how they may end up. In the reptile arena, it was hoped that collecting wild specimens could be curtailed and the market would shift to captive-bred animals. But the laws ended up banning trade in captive-bred animals as well (on the basis that captive-bred could not be differentiated from wild caught and would hence be a convenient "smokescreen").


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 Post subject: Re: USA Aphonopelma
PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2008 4:10 pm 
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Right now there are not many Arizona native tarantula species found on the open market. Not in comparison to the number that are in Arizona that is, if the sale of our native spiders was to be made illegal then the species that are on the market prices would jump making them more desirable and the species that are not well established outside of Arizona in private collections would also become more desirable and more highly sought-after again increasing their market value and putting more pressure on wild populations. At this time I do think that an outright ban would not do any good for any body, there are to many different tarantulas in Arizona that have not been well documented and studied yet for something like ban on inverts to be placed yet.
Plus many of the AZGF biologists that I have talked with wouldn’t know enough about our tarantulas to be able to tell the difference between described species let alone more uncommon or new species. It really boils down to more work needing to be done on identification, population densities, and range mapping. More boot time less computer time.


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 Post subject: Re: USA Aphonopelma
PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2008 12:53 am 
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James H wrote:
Plus many of the AZGF biologists that I have talked with wouldn’t know enough about our tarantulas to be able to tell the difference between described species let alone more uncommon or new species. It really boils down to more work needing to be done on identification, population densities, and range mapping. More boot time less computer time.


Having dealt a fair amount with people in the non-game branch, and knowing at least one or two of them are into arachnids, I know that at least some of the personnel out there would familiarize themselves with species and keys if protective laws were put in place. But we're still a long ways from having clear species descriptions and keys readily available, let alone knowing to what extent any of the species need protection. I agree with James that a lot of field work needs to be done before any legal actions should be pursued. And if/when legal actions become necessary - outright bans may not be the best choice. A well intentioned but poorly thought out law can sometimes be more damaging than no law at all. It would be nice to see this society be involved in recommendations when the time comes.


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 Post subject: Re: USA Aphonopelma
PostPosted: Sun Oct 04, 2009 4:54 pm 
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UPDATE

Hello everyone,

My name is Chris Hamilton. I'm a PhD student at East Carolina University where I work with Dr. Jason Bond. I was brought here to work on the revision of the genus Aphonopelma with Jason and Dr. Brent Hendrixson (both of whom seem to known around here... ).
I am writing this note to express my need for help in gathering localities in the western US (California, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, western Colorado) to collect specimens for this research (though most of Arizona has been covered now). Especially in California where I'm sure a number of areas' habitats are shrinking by the day.
If you can help me, please email me (chris@8legs2fangs.com or cah0702@ecu.edu)...
Also, I will put the call out for field help too...if you would like to help me collect when I am out in your area, let me know. I can always use the extra hands and eyes...
And if you have specimens already that you want to send to me, you can do that too (like what Brent was asking for)...as long as we have some kind of detailed info on the collection site or GPS.

I really appreciate any help you guys could give us...and I look forward to hearing from you in the future.

Cheers,
Chris


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