Wednesday, December 7, 2016

#140 - NEW BLOG

Hello y'all,

I've decided to keep Kiss My Big Hairy Spider going even if the page visits certainly have diminished. I think it is still a great place for me to blog about issues that are specifically arachnid related. However, yesterday I made my first post to my new blog. Pikey: Boondocking and Shunpiking; the Gypsy Life is my new home for tales from the road, both my adventures in the United States and my travels abroad. As some of you know, I am taking my field trip activity to a whole new level in 2017. I have bought a brand new truck and RV and soon will leave Chicagoland for full-time living all across America. I will be blogging almost daily as I chase reptiles, arachnids, birds and other wildlife across the beautiful United States. The plan is to spend most of January in southern Florida, return to Chicago in early February because I fly to Borneo and Langkawi, Malaysia on February 8, and then - after returning to Chicago in late February - I will head south again and make my way west along the Mexico border. Weather will dictate my path as I strive to keep the temperature range between 50 and 80ºF. By July I will be up in the Pacific Northwest where I used to live and then will head to Alaska. During my 2017 road trip I will have many adventures, but my focus will be on photographing and writing about the arachnids and reptiles of the U.S. for future eBook style projects, articles and lectures. I also will be photographing birds and other wildlife for similar use. Personally, I will also be just enjoying life and working on my music. I have rekindled my interest in songwriting after composing what I feel is the best song I have ever written in celebration of a special lady's birthday. I've created a Soundcloud channel for my music and all of my projects can be accessed through my new primary website - I will revamp as well during the coming year as it will host the eBooks I will be creating. So please check out the new website and give it a bookmark and make sure you follow the new blog. Pikey will be the place I post regularly now, but if I just want to talk about arachnids I will post here as well.

Thanks for reading, MJ

Monday, November 14, 2016


In preparation for leaving Chicagoland and living as a nomad, I have been downsizing to only the essentials. For me, this means camera gear, hiking and field gear, laptop and other devices, t-shirts, shorts and a couple acoustic guitars. Everything else is clutter. It's amazing how cluttered you can become in less than four years, especially if you live alone in a three-story house. But I'm trading it in for a 31' travel trailer.

For the past month or so I have been selling off my library via Amazon Seller, but waited until yesterday to begin advertising arachno and herpeto books. I posted on AB and created a PDF listing that is available by emailing me. Sales have been brisk already and some great stuff is gone. I thought I better let my faithful KMBHS peeps know about the book sale.

The list changes often so it is easiest if I just email the updated current list rather than post it here or make it available for download. So hit me up at if you are interested in seeing what reptile, amphibian and invertebrate books I have available. Tomorrow I'll add what remains of my other non-animal books and such. Cheers.

Thursday, November 10, 2016


As a secret special gift to those of you who still check on this now infrequent blog, I'd like to offer you a copy of the new BTS Newsletter. In chronicles my trip to Budapest, Hungary to lecture and also features an interview with my best mate and badass tattooist extraordinaire Mark Pennell. Plus it has a short article on tarantula feeding by Danni Sherwood with follow-up comments by yours truly. It is only available to members, but I've put it on my own server just for Kiss My Big Hairy Spider devotees.

I guess nobody is interested in above as the link was wrong for two weeks until I just changed it and nobody commented or notified.... :(

#137 - Poecilotheria subfusca and P. sp. highland

Poecilotheria subfusca is from the Kandy region and "P. bara" is a junior synonym and using the name "bara" in any format is invalid. The highland spider from the alpine forests around Nuwara Eliya should be properly called P. sp. highland.

Period. End of. Full stop. Finito.

Wanna read more and learn why? Join the BTS! The December issue of the Journal of the British Tarantula Society will feature my article on the topic.


Hello again!

It's been awhile ... I hope y'all are well.

Today I sold most of the remaining 11 spiders in my possession. Hopefully my house will sell soon and I will be on the road conducting research and creating photoessays on the arachnids and other wildlife of the United States.

This blog entry is called "Assclowns" because I just made a rare login at Arachnoboards to update my final spider sale advert of my long career, and to post an ad for BTS memberships. The British pound to American dollar exchange rate is at its best since I first traveled to the U.K. ten years ago. It's a great time to take advantage of that savings!

As I scanned the ads to find my own, I noticed - with absolutely no surprise - a whole bunch of sellers who I've never ever heard of before (weekend warriors/beginners/clueless). I also noted some ridiculous price lists from some names I at least recognized (although other than Kelly Swift I would argue that all the good dealers are gone). Who is this assclown Rossi anyway? He definitely wins the award for the most ridiculous of the incredibly ridiculous. Pachistopelma rufonigrum for $250?!? I was the first American to breed them and, as far as I know, still the only. I could barely give them away at $75-90. No spiderling is worth more than $150. Ever. Typhochlaena at $750. He's smoking crack! It's probably the most exciting spider to enter arachnoculture, but again ... a baby bug isn't worth more than a hundo and a half. Pictures of rings? Assclown! He seems to be trying to surpass Patrick Kane as the sleaziest spider seller ever. Harpactira pulchripes slings @ $150?!? Again, I was the first American to breed and I sold some at that price then! I've now sold all but my original breeder female (who has been paired). If she produces slings I will sell them for fifty bucks. Wait.

I've never heard one good thing about this nobody, and everyone I have talked to has used the disparaging and often profane terms. However, there are many assclowns. Can you believe Gearheart is still out there preying on the clueless?!? Boggles the imagination doesn't it? Inland Sea? Still out there selling only the most common uninteresting species at the lowest prices, and shipping illegally via the postal service... On the first ad page alone I counted five never hear of "dealers" with fairly extensive for sale lists. It will be a new five next year. Stamp collectors come and go. Many will trade their Ts for leopard geckos.

For those of you that are serious hobbyists, and can navigate through the sludge to find the honest and honorable, I wish you the best in your new projects and hope you have great success in 2017. There is still plenty of enjoyment in the hobby if you can avoid the assclowns and arachnobored.

I could go on, but my medication is kicking in LOL. We must insulate against the assclowns by whatever means necessary. They can all KISS MY BIG HAIRY SPIDER!

Yours in rant, MJ

Thursday, October 20, 2016


Please join the BTS. Here is the Phormingochilus revision co-authored by Andrew Smith and myself that appeared in the Journal last year.

Saturday, September 24, 2016


My entries here at Kiss My Big Hairy Spider are now few and far between, but I haven't forgotten it and, at least for now, do not intend to abandon it completely. Today I thought I would just write some random paragraphs to catch up on whatever arachnid-related topics I can.

uno (1)
I presently own eleven spiders. That's remarkable and there have been few times over the past forty years I have had less. I want the number to become zero, and am hoping one of my close friends will take what remains on permanent breeding loan. I've offered them first to Jason Newland, but communicating with him is difficult at best. Chad Campbell would be my second choice. Most of the spiders are Harpactira pulchripes. One is a mature male that was one of the slings from my first ever American breeding of the species. I mated him back to his mother and have one or two young females that I will also pair him with. Sadly, my largest specimen, a wild-caught that I acquired from Germany along with the smaller female that produced the first American sac, recently died. Another recent pairing is "Monocentropus lambertoni". I put it in quotes as I am not convinced our pet trade identification is correct. The first ultimate male I had was pickled and given to African theraphosid expert Richard Gallon to contribute to his work on the species. He said he had two other males, but I don't know if he'll ever get around to it. I'll see him soon in person and pester him. After I paired the initial male to my only female she molted so it was sheer luck that the only other specimen I had was male and matured recently. I actually paired them when John Apple was staying at my house on his last visit.

kettő (2)
I thought my October 12 departure to Budapest was going to be a week long eastern European holiday hanging out with my best mates Mark & Kim Pennell and Ray & Angela Hale, but I have now been asked to be one of the lecturers. I will be presenting a revised and updated version of the "Merian's Avicularia and other Tarantulas of Suriname" that I delivered at the ATS Conference in 2014. I am really looking forward to seeing Budapest and now join fellow lecturers Andrew Smith, Ray Hale, Peter Kirk, Richard Gallon, Ray Gabriel and Peter Kirk on the podium.

drei (3)
One of the eleven spiders I still have is quite remarkable. I need to photograph him soon. He is a mature male Poecilotheria smithi that matured – get this! – 2 years, three months, and 18 days ago!!! I'm considering a longevity article for an upcoming issue of the Journal of the British Tarantula Society or the BTS Newsletter.

quatre (4)
Speaking of the Journal ... The next issue, 31(3), comes out in December and my deadline for articles and other content is November 1. I will begin working on it next week.

lima (5)
I can't tell you how much I am looking forward to my Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo and Langkawi, Malaysia trip in February! I will be chasing inverts, no doubt, but hope to get some fantastic primate, bird and reptile images in Bako National Park and elsewhere.

sex (6)
As always, please keep up with my photos on Instagram at @jacobipix and my full res photography at My is website is now a single page, but check it out and also take a gander at my new website, The new site will tell you about my new blog that I will be starting in 2017. After the Borneo/Langkawi trip, I will be hitting the road for an American field trip with no end. I will be trying to focus as many arachnids and herps as possible, while also doing scenic photography, wildlife photography (especially birds) and much more!

Cheers, MJ

PS: FUN GAME: try to guess (without Google cheating) the languages I presented each of the numbered sections with. Hint: in some cases they relate to the content of the following paragraph; in others they definitely don't.