In November 2011 I visited Argentina for a month. Due to the size of the country there was only enought time to see the north , anyways concerning spiders Patagonia was uninteresting for me because temperatures are too low.
In the north November marks the beginning of spring and an end of the dry season. After arrival in Buenos Aires the way lead to Salta in the north- west and from there via San Salvador de Jujuy and Yala to Tilcara and Humahuaca. After that I visited the north - east with Posadas, San Ignacio and Puerto Iguacu.
The north of Argentina:
Concerning Theraphosidae the north west can be summarized in two words " Wrong Season ".
The landscape around the mountains and valleys shows a big variety of vegetation and several people told me that around April adult males of Theraphosidae spp. occur in this area. Anyways even after extensive search I was not able to find any sign of a Theraphosid spider except in the Parque Nacional Calilegua. I think this was caused by the dry season , so that the spiders were hidden deeply in their closed burrows.
Unfortunately also my new Nikon D90 camera broke right at the beginning of the trip so I had some difficulties taking good pictures.
But despite the dry season it was possible to find some nice non Theraphosid spiders in this area.
Even within the capital of the Salte province it is possible to find some Lycosidae sp. on a nearby hill which is a famous destination for sightseeing and sports. There is even a cableway up the mountain.
A view of the habitat of these spiders :
It is obvious that it is dry season :
The burrows are easy to spot:
Some nice Araneae sp. build their nets in cactus trees:
Die variety of habitats in this area is shown in the following pictures. 10 km east of Salta it looks like this :
A few km further east like this :
The Parque Nacional Calilegua is situated north east from San Salvador de Jujuy . From 1500 m altitude the main vegetation consist of cloud forest and at this place i found the only burrrow of a Theraphosid sp. ( but not the spider itself ) in the Salta province. Nevertheless also here people told me that around April they see many adult males of a Theraphosid spider.
The burrow of this Theraphosid spider was too deep to find the inhabitant.
But my one day visit was not disappointing at all, besides fantastic landscape....
and well camouflaged birds...
..I also found a colourful Dipluridae mostly beneath rocks. But smaller specimen of this or a similar species I was also able to find in deep burrows in road embankments
From San Salvador de Jujuy it is just a few km to Yala. Here the forest changes with higher altitude to a landscape
similar to the Paramo frrom the Andean mountains: Info: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P%C3%A1ramo
Unfortunately also here there were no Theraphosidae but a very large Lycosidae sp.
At day these spiders can be found under stones
Other Arachnids also live in this Habitat:
In this could environment I also found an small scorpion species:
From Yala I travelled further to Tilacara into the Mountains. The higher the altitude the more desertlike the vegetation became.
There is a sudden change from green trees into cactus trees and thorn bushes.
later only smal scrub:
But also at 3200 m altitude there is plenty of life. Under stones between the scrub I was able to find Agathemera claraziana. A phasmid species only described from the southern parts of Argentina.
Some colourful lizards shared this environment:
Also rodents used some stones to find a shelter:
After spending 10 days in the mountains i travelled to posadas in the state Misiones. From there I planned to travel further on to Puerto Iguacu. Here the climate is tropical humid and mostly warm. Here I thought to have better chances to spot some larger spiders. And I was happy to be succesful at the first day.
While trying to lure one of the spiders out of their burrow and seeing its front legs I saw that this species has golden stripes on its leg. Lter I was told
this is Eupalaestrus campestratus
In November most of the spiders had eggacs. Like the Pamphobeteus species from Ecuador also these large spiders took their eggsacs to the entrance of their burrow to get some more warm sunshine.
Most of the spiders had deep burrows but some also lived under stones.
Medium sized female:
and a baby Eupalasestrus, found under a log:
Best time for watching spiders is at night:
Nearby the spiders burrows I found many burrows with the same shape and size of the entrance but instead of spiders it was inhabited by Paraponera clavata , one of the worlds largest ants which sting is described as the most painful sting of all insects. It`s common name is also "24 hour Ant" because the pain lasts 24 hours.
While hunting for spiders one should also be aware of birds defending their offspring:
Large phasmid species from the same area:
The last stop on my journey were the Falls of Iguacu. The National Park of Iguacu belongs to Argentina and Brasil sharing the public area. So it is possible to visit the falls from both countries. The upper falls re mostly on the brasilian side while the lower parts belong to Argentina.
I found this Aranea sp. only on the brazilian side...
I was surpised to find a small Theraphosid species in Iguacu. These spiders lived in burrows with a depth of around 30 cm:
The spiders don`t have an easy life inside the national park. Because of human caretaking coatis are almost everywhere and always looking
around to maybe eat a spider:
Finally I would like to mention that even though the pictures look like nice nature the agricultural use of this part of Argentina is immense. The province Misiones and Iguacu look really green from airplane but there is almost no primary forest anymore. Most of the forest consists of mono cultures of conifers which look like improtant trees because I never found them within primary forest. Within these monocultures of course no spiders and only very few insects and birds can be found.
Here view on the National park of Iguacu