Saturday, January 24, 2015

It All Began On Swauk Prairie

Ponderosa pines on Swauk Prairie, Kittitas
County, Washington, USA. 22-MAY-2008
Photo credit: Laurel Ramseyer
It all began on Swauk Prairie on a sunny, blustery spring day in 2008.  Upon seeing a spider darting into an open pine cone laying on the ground, I picked up the cone and tapped it over my net to see who that spider was.  And then I picked up other cones to see who else might be present in the pine cone microhabitat.  Thus was born a new sampling method (tapping fallen cones) for a newly-recognized microhabitat (fallen conifer cones).

Since that fateful day I've sampled about 4,600 pine cones in Washington, 1,400 cones in Massachusetts, and smaller numbers of cones in Oregon, California, and the Netherlands.  Here for you to enjoy are accounts of my various pine cone spider collecting trips.  I'm starting with the most recent (December 2014), and working my way back to 2008.

A spider's silken tunnel leading invitingly under a ponderosa cone.
 Photo credit: Laurel Ramseyer

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