Friday, January 30, 2015

11-Nov-2014 Martin Road, Bonny Doon, California

View across the preserve to a rare unmined sand hill
Far from being put off by our previous long drive and chilly half sample, Clothilde was eager to join in the actual cone processing fun, and I was happy for the help and good company.  By now I’d learned how to better identify ponderosa pine areas in Santa Cruz County from Google Map’s aerial photos, so this time we were able to home in on trees without delay.

Although today’s trees turned out to be in the Bonny Doon Ecological Reserve, which is closed to collectors, again we were able to collect all the cones we needed from the public side of the fence.  Roadside margins aren’t the most pristine of habitats, but here in the early 21st century they are ubiquitous and so, in my opinion, are not to be sniffed at.  They are an environmental reality of our day.
Road margins, an ecological reality
The deciding fence line.

It was chilly and foggy back at Felton Covered Bridge County Park, where we processed the cones, but this time we’d come prepared (hoodies!).  And the afternoon proved fruitful; together we collected 12 spiders from our sample of 20 cones, all but one spider via the tapping method.  And with the two of us working in tandem, we completed the task in about half the time it would have taken me to do it solo.  This is no small matter, since cone peeling is a very time-consuming method of sampling.

Ebo, with her long, striped legs.
Silver 'n brown Euryopis sp.
Today juvenile Oecobius sp. made up 2/3 of our catch, but we also collected two spiders from my personal "genus of interest", Euryopis sp. (Theridiidae), as well as a female Ebo sp. crab spider (Philodromidae) and a male funnel-weaver, Hololena sp. (Agelenidae)

Clothilde Labrousse, pine cone spider collector.

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