It may look like a tarantula, but it’s not! That’s how this species got its nickname, false tarantula, also called the Calisoga spider. One way to tell the difference between these two species is by looking at the hairs on their bodies. Tarantulas have larger hairs that tend to be black or reddish-brown in color. Calisoga spider hairs are more of a silvery-brown. Though Calisogas are found here in the Bay Area, you’ll rarely see them. These spiders spend most of their time in burrows, and are most commonly seen when the males come out seeking females during the fall mating season.
Our resident Calisoga spider was collected from the wild back in 2013 and brought to the Lindsay Wildlife Rehabilitation Hospital in 2017 when the collector was moving. He was in the care of the hospital until 2019 when it was decided he would become one of Lindsay’s animal ambassadors. He is named after Ralph Vary Chamberlin, a biologist, ethnographer, and historian from Salt Lake City, Utah. Chamberlin was known for his work in taxonomy and was responsible for naming over 4,000 animal species. In 1937, Chamberlin was the first person to describe the Calisoga spider.