Arizona and Sonora 2013

In August of 2013 we went to Arizona and Sonora to get fresh specimens of the beautiful Habronattus for genomic work. Habronattus are the North American version of Australia’s famous peacock spiders, but with a difference: while their colours are not so brilliant, the male courtship ornaments and motions are more complex and diverse than those of the peacock spiders. We had a long list of species we wanted to catch, but we had two very special targets: an undescribed species from Arizona that we called “sunglow”, and another undescribed species from Sonora. We were thrilled to catch both. Wayne tweeted the trip at, this tweet and previous. Sam also composed a Storify summary of tweets from the trip.

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The team: Heather Proctor, Wayne Maddison, Sam Evans, and Geneviève Leduc-Robert.  Here we are in a mirror that helps drivers navigate the tight switchbacks up the Mt. Hopkins Observatory road.

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The beautiful Sonoran Desert: Ocotillos in the Santa Rita Mountains

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A male Habronattus virgulatus in his natural habitat

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Sunset over the Galiuro Mountains, southeastern Arizona

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The negative estuary near Puerto Peñasco, Sonora, where we found, finally, adults of the mysterious undescribed Habronattus species that we call “The Peñasco Beast”.

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A male of The Peñasco Beast, an undescribed species of Habronattus that appears to be related to H. tarsalis, but which is altogether strange. It lives on the salty plants and mud of this negative estuary.

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After our successful quest for The Peñasco Beast, Abraham Meza López of CEDO and I are delighted

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Another undescribed species of Habronattus from the negative estuaries of Puerto Peñasco.

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The dangers of trying to catch a Phidippus species that lives only on cholla cacti.


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