Thursday, December 31, 2015

#101 - HAPPY NEW YEAR! [off topic]


My best to you and yours in 2016. May it be rewarding, prosperous, healthy and full of smiles.

Don't be a quitter and make new year's resolutions. Be a winner and strive for your goals!

What will January bring from you? Are you in one of those places that become frozen tundra and everything goes into slow motion as people brace themselves against the winter chill? I am.

But what's in your planner? Have goals? Plans? Changes? Feel free to comment below.

My January begins with the development of a new company. Want to talk about change? I'm going from "Michael Jacobi's SPIDERSHOPPE" to Triggercontrol Tactical, LLC. It's actually a life theme for me that I am always driven towards something new. I have the spirit of adventure and the passion for travel. As I continue work on the launch of TCT, I prepare to travel some more!

My January's theme is EPIC ROAD TRIP!
  • I will depart very early on Monday January 11 and return somewhat late on Monday February 1.
  • I will drive 4800 miles and sleep in hotel rooms for 21 nights in a row
  • I will train for a total of 7 days (a 2 day and 5 day course of fire) and shoot 2000 rounds
  • I will walk about 50 miles over several days at SHOT SHOW in Vegas.
  • I will play poker.
  • I will post pix on Instagram on all 3 accounts: @ExoticFauna (scenery & travel) or @dailyhandgun/@triggercontroltactical (training/SHOT SHOW)

My route goes like this (just for my stalker friends):
Huntley, IL > Lincoln, NE > Glenwood Springs, CO > Vegas (2 days) > Chino Hills, CA; Prada Olympic Shooting Park (3 days, 2 days training) > Vegas (4 nights for SHOT SHOW) > Paulden, AZ/Gunsite Academy (8 nights, 5 days training) > Grand Canyon > Albuquerque, NM > Tulsa, OK > HOME, SWEET HOME

Then I'll be home and BUSY, BUSY, BUSY until Feb 28 - March 7 for the 14th British Tarantula Society Lectures. And, with that, we bring this blog entry closer to on topic (not that it's not still going to piss off someone who only wants to read "epigynal insertion of embolus"). The BTS Lectures and Annual General Meeting will be another magnificent trip to England (my 9th I think?). I love Bristol, home of my dear mate Mark Pennell. I will be under his needle for more Serious Ink. I'll have my bonus dad Joel along and we'll first spend one night in Dublin where I'll make return visits to Jameson's and Guinness. We'll have a car once we land in Bristol and have side trips to Wales, Stonehenge and London planned.

Then its back home to launch TCT, although I'll only stay sedentary until next training session back in the Prescott, AZ area in late April ;)

Tonight I will toast you all a Happy New Year with a glass of American crafted bourbon (Breckenridge) and a Cuban Cohiba from Costa Rica.

Cheers, MJ

Sunday, December 20, 2015


POST EDITED 12/20/2015 @ 17:42 CT.

If you are interested in reading Smith & Jacobi, 2015 (Phormingochilus and related Ornithoctoninae revision) I have now updated The Tarantula Bibliography to include a link to download a PDF of the article.

I still encourage all of you to become members of the BTS and get the Journal in its entirety and access to previous issues online, but you can get this one free.

I originally considered it a "gift" to my readership, but since I was made aware that the World Spider Catalog is already making it available (they [and others] don't really understand what copyright is all about) I have added it to my site. At least I'm the co-author and entitled to share it ;).

Here's the link


PS: As I saw one reader's comment about the WSC having our paper listed as "Upcoming" I went to take a look. There I saw something very coincidental. It seems Gunter Schmidt, a very old man who prolifically publishes sloppy papers in his friend's self-published magazine, has a new paper on the synonymy of Haplopelma and Melopoeus, something we discuss in our own paper. This is old news, of course, but I would imagine Volker von Wirth is really pulling his hair out now. We've just placed all Haplopelma in Cyriopagopus and note that the Myanmar and Thailand material will likely be restored to Melopoeus by future workers (VVW?). However, there is an English abstract for Schmidt's paper and the title is obvious - he is stating that Haplopelma and Melopoeus are not synonymous. Interesting ... No, we are not all hired by Dymo to sell more label tape ;)



November and December have been quiet here at KISS MY BIG HAIRY SPIDER. Of course, I was in Costa Rica for 10 or 11 days in December and November was just me running out of new material to share and having my mind elsewhere.

I noticed yesterday and this morning that Arachnoboards is down. I wonder what the Arachnobored are doing with their time. I wonder if they are suffering from withdrawal and chewing down their fingernails. I wonder if other forums (I imagine there are some; I wouldn't know) have seen increased traffic. I was one of the beta testers of ABs new XenForo platform, but I never had the time or desire to check it out.

The reason I know about Arachnoboards, despite the fact that I normally only log in to post a quick advert and then crawl back down my hole again, is that I have updated my Tarantula Bibliography to include the many changes brought about by the Phormingochilus revision that Andrew Smith and I co-authored in the Journal of the British Tarantula Society 30(3). Whenever I update The Tarantula Bibliography I make an announcement on Arachnoboards. So I wrote up the post and then discovered that I would be unable to post it until the "migration" is finished. I've already summarized the changes our paper established in a recent blog post, but I wanted to post the info to a wider audience.

I miss Costa Rica. It is where I want to be. I'll be there for good some day. But, in the meantime, I have many more things to accomplish in America. The adjustment returning home hasn't been too difficult. I am very busy. I am once again forming my own business, this time one focused on pistol training and the firearms industry, and when I returned I gave On Target Range and Tactical Training Center my "two weeks notice".

I love road trips. When I was younger I toured the entire United States visiting every single mainland state and most of the Canadian provinces. When I was in my early 20s me and a friend would drive to Florida just for the weekend! Those were crazy sleepless days with consumption of alcohol and other substances. I then turned my attention to tarantula hunting in the American Southwest. I once drove back from southwestern Texas along the Rio Grande and the Mexican border in one 25 hour shot.

Now, at 51, I don't think I have the stamina for these sorts of marathon driving adventures, but I am taking on the challenge of spending January 7 to January 31 on the road with over three weeks in motel rooms. Over three weeks of me and my car, driving alone from Chicago to Chino Hills outside of Los Angeles, then up to Vegas for a week and then down to Paulden, Arizona near Prescott. I'll probably visit a few National Parks after that so I may not even be back in my own bed until February. This road trip is to attend two different pistol training sessions (first is 2 days, second is 5 days) and the SHOT Show in Vegas in between. But, as always, my Nikons and camera bag will be along for the ride and I will be looking to do some scenic landscape photography if not a bit of wildlife photography. Travel pix will go up to my @exoticfauna Instagram. Gun pix will only be posted to my @dailyhandgun Instagram.

While I am on the road for January I will be spending some down time in hotel rooms working on the next issue of the BTS Journal, which will be the first with me as Editor. This last issue was outstanding and I need to keep the excellence moving full steam ahead. I may also write some educational posts for KMBHS so this project keeps going in 2016. I'll be starting another blog for my new business, but I think I can still find topics to post here.

So here I am on a relaxing Sunday morning. Sunday, fun day. I'm drinking some amazing coffee and watching a movie on Netflix while I feed the small collection of spiders I still have. However, all spiders must go before my road trip so I am also itching for AB to come back online so I can post another advert. Prices will be further slashed. There's not a lot left, but I do have some interesting projects available like Avicularia sooretama and Psalmopoeus langenbucheri. Plus I have some Harpactira, Idiothele and some Phormingochilus carpenteri (Cyriopagopus sp. Sulawesi). I also have slings of Poecilotheria rufilata, P. subfusca ("highland", of course) and Iridopelma hirsutum 'Recife'. Shoot me an email at if you're interested in anything. I will give rock bottom pricing to blog readers. Advance payment via PayPal required; no payment terms.

I had yesterday off too. Another day of chill. I worked on my new business' website, watched some movies and then watched last night's UFC.

I don't celebrate xmas or any other religious holidays, so I won't wish you season's greetings. However, I do wish you and yours the best and wish you a healthy and prosperous 2016. Happy New Year! My 2016 will involve more change, which seems to be a life long theme for me. #livingthedream.

all the best, MJ

Wednesday, December 16, 2015


In the just released Journal of the British Tarantula Society, 30(3), I co-authored a scientific revision with Andrew Smith.

Smith, A.M. & M.A. Jacobi. 2015.
Revision of the genus Phormingochilus (Araneae, Theraphosidae, Ornithoctoninae) with the description of three new species from Sulawesi and Sarawak and notes on the placement of the genera Cyriopagopus, Lampropelma and Omothymus.
Journal of the British Tarantula Society, 30(3): 26-48.

Within moments of this journal landing first on British doorsteps, one knuckle-dragging knucklehead with too much time on his hands had already posted the title and abstract on social media. I don't use Faffbook anymore, but while in Costa Rica people sent me screenshots of the heated discussion that followed. We knew our paper would be controversial. We knew we would stir up some shit and piss off some other workers interested in this material. Fortunately for me, I am insulated from the controversy as I don't read FB or other social media or forums, and Andrew is the senior and corresponding author. He is the chief "feather ruffler". Write him.

I have repeatedly urged you to join the BTS and receive its prestigious Journal of which I am now the Editor. If you want to read this article and more you can go to and get at least a digital subscription so you can download the PDF. Since the abstract was typed in full on Faffbook by one particularly annoying faffer, I won't bother to do so here. I will, however, provide a synopsis of our work.

#1 - We describe three new Phormingochilus.
  • P. kirki Smith & Jacobi, 2015 gives a home to Pocock's male "P. everetti", which has long known to belong to another species
  • P. carpenteri Smith & Jacobi, 2015 is a new species from Sulawesi that is almost certainly our hobby's "Cyriopagopus sp. Sulawesi black"
  • P. pennellhewletti Smith & Jacobi 2015 is a new species that was discovered about seven years ago by Mark Pennell and Dean Hewlett in the Kelabit Highlands of Borneo. In some ways you could say that it is the darker and differently colored and marked highland version of the lowland P. everetti.
Additionally, we note that while no material of P. fuchsi was studied we believe that it is very likely what we in the hobby call "Cyriopagopus sp. Sumatra tiger". We treat "P. tigrinus" as a junior synonym of P. everetti.

***ADDED 12/19/2015: Understand that no pet trade material was examined for this revision. My personal feeling is that "Cyriopagopus sp. Sulawesi" is, in fact, Phormingochilus carpenteri, and "Cyriopagopus sp. Sumatra" is Phormingochilus fuchsi. In the comments to the original post Tom Patterson asked about "Lampropelma sp. Borneo black". Although still undescribed and not examined by our paper, this spider should now be more appropriately called "Phormingochilus sp. Borneo black".***

***ADDED 1/1/2016: Understand that no pet trade material was examined for this revision. Another reader asked about what to call "Cyriopagopus sp. hatihati". This is an Indonesian spider very much like O. schioedtei and therefore I would call it Omothymus sp. hatihati.***

Moving on to other genera, we resurrect the historical genus Omothymus to contain the Malaysian mainland arboreal tarantulas. This means that Lampropelma violaceopes is now Omothymus violaceopes and Cyriopagopus schioedtei and C. thorelli are now O. schioedtei and O. thorelli. These two species may prove to be synonymous. The final Omothymus is O. dromeus, but we note that this Philippine species certainly belongs in another genus. Personally I think it will eventually be treated as Orphnaecus, but this isn't a conclusion of our paper and Orphnaecus is Selenocosmiinae, not Ornithoctoninae! So the jury is definitely out on that one!

The only species left in the genus Lampropelma is L. nigerrimum, a very different and stocky black arboreal found only on the isolated Sangir (Sangihe) Island.

With its existing species removed, Cyriopagopus is treated as a senior synonym of Haplopelma thereby relegating all valid "Haplopelma" to the genus "Cyriopagopus", which is in line with the type species C. paganus. We do note that further work on this material will likely restore Haplopelma and split the species into different groups with the Thailand and Myanmar species returning to the genus Melopoeus. But this is for other workers to decide.

So buy some more label maker tape and correct your terrariums ;) And buy a BTS membership and read the paper in full. And stay out of conversations with the Arachnobored and Faffbookers. They will rot your brain.

BUT ... If you do see discussions of this paper online feel free to post a direct link to this blog entry in the comments ... Thanks!


#97 - COSTA RICA 2015

Hello again,

I have just returned from an amazing holiday in Costa Rica with my bonus dad Joel. I fell in love with Costa Rica, its people and the pura vida lifestyle during my 2006 field trip there and returned telling anyone and everyone that I would be moving there within a few years. Obviously, that hasn't happened. When my marriage ended I took on a job in Seattle and stayed there for five years until the tragic loss of my beloved mother. I can tell you that this past two week's stay in Costa Rica has rekindled my desire to retire there, but I am now looking at doing it when the time is right, not just spontaneously pick up and leave now.

The key word in the first sentence is "holiday". The Brits I normally travel with on field trips are understandably looking to travel on a budget. We are spider hunters. Jungle trekkers. We don't require fancy accommodations. That said, I am appalled by some of the quarters they are willing to stay in. This trip to Costa Rica was all about holiday and zero about field trip. Joel and I travel in luxury. We are hedonistic and make no apologies for staying in five or six star resorts and living the dream.

My field trip mates like to say "this is a field trip, not a holiday". Well, I thoroughly enjoyed being able to say this is a holiday, not a field trip. We stayed in fine suites with flower petals on our bedding and jacuzzi tubs surrounded my amazing stonework. We ate fine cuisine and enjoyed local flavor and live music. We were comfortable. The trip was not about spiders. It was about showing Joel the majesty of Costa Rica's natural world. We hiked to the top of Poás Volcano. We trekked the Monteverde Cloud forest. We took day and night hikes in the lowland rainforests of Sarapiquí where we stayed in cabins right along the river. We found zero tarantulas and I couldn't have been happier for it. One tarantula and the holiday would have been tainted as part field trip. I wanted to enjoy the fauna of Costa Rica, but without any considerable effort. Those of you who have (or will) check in on my Instagram account ( will see many of the spectacular creatures we saw. There are over 160 images from our trip that also show our beautiful hotels and the wonderful food we ate.

For reptiles I saw no snakes, but instead saw caimans and amazing lizards like the emerald basilisk, brown basilisk, spiny-tailed iguana, yellow-headed gecko, myriad house geckos and anoles. For amphibians I got great photos of the "blue jeans" or strawberry dart frog, the green and black dart frog and a few other frogs and toads. I saw many fascinating insects like dobsonflies, blue morpho butterflies, extraordinary katydids, moths and more. The birds were spectacular. Costa Rica is home to 52 species of hummingbird and 30 live in the Monteverde Cloud Forest. I captured amazing images of some. One avian highlight was the aracari (pronounced ahr-uh-SAHR-ee), which I was able to capture with my camera on two occasions, but saw countless others speeding through the rainforest. I even was fortunate enough to lay eyes for the first time on a male Resplendent Quetzal in Monteverde. However, before I could photograph he was gone in a colorful flash of blue and red. Another incredible sighting was scarlet macaws. Each time they were soaring above the trees and eluded my camera. Once again I struck out on seeing a sloth. But I did enjoy other mammals like a nine-banded armadillo on a night hike and some roadside coatis. There is a video of me following a male coati (pronounced kwah-TEE) down the path in the Monteverde Cloud Forest on my Instagram as well. I got a nice image of a two-lined bat, and saw and shot images of other mammals. The primates were a special treat. Near Cañas we encountered a large troop of mantled howler monkeys. As I began photographing them I noticed that one was a white-faced capuchin. It was obvious that the howlers had adopted the capuchin and made it part of the family. During our last breakfast in CR just before heading to the airport a group of capuchins descended from the trees and invaded our resort's open air breakfast area. We learned that they weren't after fruit (the squirrel monkeys go for that), but rather the sweetener packets on our tables. The staff quickly rounded up all of the sugar and then tossed one cheeky monkey a mango that he then focused his attention on.

A trip to Costa Rica without one tarantula or one snake. If it had been a field trip this would be a major disappointment. But, as it was a posh holiday, what we were able to see was nothing short of incredible. My 73-year old bonus dad, who has a bad hip, was a trooper doing the hikes that we did enjoy. But the trip was about chilling and I spent more time in the pool or on the beach than I ever have on any vacation. It was paradise. Joel also caught his first sailfish and I was overjoyed for that.

Did I look at all for tarantulas? Yes. I returned to a roadside in Cañas where we had found many A. seemanni in 2006. Nine years later most of the embankment was eroded and the vegetation had been allowed to overtake the roadside. I found one burrow and went back at nightfall, but had no luck. Three times I visited an area where we had found many M. mesomelas in 2006. The area was under construction and the road bank had been stripped. The soda (little shop/restaurant) that was next to our "honey hole" had been demolished. I also stood right where Paul Carpenter had found our first Sphaerobothria hoffmanni. I searched that embankment and found nothing. I gave it a cursory effort before returning to holiday mode and enjoying a fine Costa Rican coffee on a sun porch while watching darting hummingbirds and various tanagers.

Pura vida, MJ

Wednesday, December 2, 2015


It's been awhile. 

My apologies. 

Been real busy as I am exploring opening a new business and have been training. 

In a few hours I am off to the airport, on to Costa Rica via Houston. 

I bought a selfie stick just for the occasion. To follow my pix you'll have to Instagram @exoticfauna. I'll be posting as much as possible. 

When I return I'll share some Tales from the Field and update you on some arachnonews. 

All the best, MJ