Saturday, January 31, 2015

9-Dec-2014 Randall Morgan Sandhills Preserve, Felton, California

View into the preserve from the gate.
Today Clothilde and I had permission to collect cones in the Randall Morgan Sandhills Preserve thanks to folks at the Sandhills Alliance for Natural Diversity who put me in touch with folks at the Land Trust of Santa Cruz County.  The preserve encompasses an old open pit sand mine, so what was once a hill of forested sand is now a sandy hole with encroaching sandhills vegetation.

Collecting site with commanding
view of Mt. Hermon Rd.
We found a nice accumulation of cones amid pine needles and oak leaves on the forested quarry rim overlooking Mt. Hermon Road.  These cones, as we so frequently found elsewhere in the preserve and sandhills region, had scales only partway open.

Metacyrba sp. epigynum
From 23 cones we extracted two spiders by the beat method (nothing by the peel method): a juvenile salticid and a female salticid.  We also collected several pseudoscorpions, an arachnid not uncommonly found in fallen pine cones.

Clothilde with our bag o' cones
Thanks to an assist from Rod Crawford and The Peckham Society's extensive online resources, we've tentatively ID'd the female salticid as Metacyrba taeniola similis.

This was my final pine cone spider collecting trip for 2014 in California.  The next set of blog posts will describe the 7-day spidering expedition to Washington state's Chelan and Spokane counties that Rod Crawford and I took in October, 2013.  Stay tuned!

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