|All you need is one good pine...|
|...to get a full sample of cones.|
I decided to continue on to the “census-designated place” west of Felton called Bonny Doon, which from my reading seemed a good place to continue prospecting for ponderosas. And how could a person resist the promise of Pine Flat Road? Sadly, there were no pines on Pine Flat Road. I should know by now not to take road names literally, since they seldom reflect the reality of the vegetation they transect.
The disappointment of the Bonny Doon digression faded quickly, however, after I returned to my starting point in Felton. There, only a few blocks from the “cleaned-up” shopping center trees, I discovered an impressive lone ponderosa with dozens of fallen cones beneath it (location map).
|Oecobius navus female.|
I got my first peel spiders today, but only four -- not enough to account for the high overall tally.
The most common species by far was Oecobius navus (Oecobiidae), a presumably naturalized species which comprised about a third of my specimens. Oecobiids have an anal tubercle fringed with long, curving hairs arranged in a way that is reminiscent of a fountain or a flower. I love this, not only because it makes the family easy to ID, but who doesn't love a spider butt that encourages poetic description?
|Tiny refugium between the cone's |
Which brings me to the small group of people with the look of hard living about them who I suspect were responsible for many of those discarded returnables. One of the men informed me quite directly that I was using “their” table and that he wanted to share it. I explained why I wasn’t prepared to move or make room (“delicate biological specimens”), and they grudgingly moved on to a different table. Happily, several women from the group came back later to find out more about what I was doing, declared it a cool thing, and told me their spider stories, so our interaction ended on a positive note.
|Vital equipment: table, cloth, net, pliers, bag o' cones, Diet Pepsi|
* Related: 10-Sept-2014: Columbia Historic State Park, Columbia, California