|Sample site. Click photos to enlarge.|
|Corsican pines dropping open cones on Waalsdorpervlakte|
The trees were located on the western boundary of Waalsdorpervlakte, located in Wassenaar, Netherlands (Lat. 52.112532, Long. 4.332721). The Waalsdorpervlakte is part of the dune complex that lies between The Hague and the North Sea. In the area where I sampled, the dunes have been stabilized by grass, oaks and poplars in addition to the pines.
|The fallen cone microhabitat|
|Two spiders from one cone. For scale, the inner diameter |
of the vial is 8 mm.
Not knowing the local regulations on collecting invertebrates, to say nothing about getting them past airport security and USA customs, I opted to just photo-document the specimens as best I could, then return the live animals to their cones. This means that I can't be certain of their identities beyond noting the presence of crab spiders and what look like dictynids. However, it was enough to confirm that there are cone spiders here. I hope this discovery will inspire local spider enthusiasts to start tapping conifer cones!
|Beware armed storks!|
Incidentally, although I was collecting in a country where people don’t own guns for self-defense, gunfire serenaded my collecting adventure. It turns out that there’s a shooting club just down the trail from my collecting site. Other than that, passers-by were friendly and inquisitive and either understood and accepted my pidgin Dutch explanation of what I was doing, or tactfully retreated from the crazy lady. Either way, nobody interfered with my work.
Dutch Keywords: spinnen, spin, krabspinnen, Den Haag, dennenboom, Nederland, dennenappel, Meijendel