Thursday, February 26, 2015

2-Jul-2012 Wachusett Reservoir Gate 38, Massachusetts

Site location
The triangle of forest that lies between Route 110 in Clinton and the reservoir's North Dike was my destination this day.  Site A was located on the hillside just opposite the gate.  The stand I chose was almost pure eastern white pine (Pinus strobus) in composition, but there were oaks (Quercus sp.) and maples (Acer sp.) nearby, as the composition of the understory reflected.

Site A
Site A cones
Tapping 55 cones at Site A, I collected 12 spiders from at least 4 species.  The needle litter produced 6 spiders, mostly juveniles, but adults from 2 microspider species were present.

Site B, arborvitae trunk in foreground
Spider incorporating a Site B
cone into its web
Site B was located on the inland (downstream) slope of the dike.  The forest here was comprised of eastern white pines growing among an old arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis) plantation.  Unlike Site A, Site B's understory was quite sparse, comprised of blueberry (Vaccinium sp.), ferns and pine and oak seedlings.

A trail tunnel through dense
arborvitae near Site B
I tapped 50 pine cones at Site B and collected 13 spiders, all juveniles but for one female Phrurotimpus borealis (Phrurolithidae).  A load of needle litter yielded 14 spiders, again all juveniles except for 2 linyphiid females TBD.

About a month after I took my samples, the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority removed close to 4,000 trees from the North Dike as part of a safety and maintenance program.  Happily, according to news reports, the stands that I had sampled were probably left intact.
American coppers (Lycaena phlaeas) were plentiful on the grassy top of the North Dike

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