Saturday, March 7, 2015

13-Aug-2012 Wachusett Reservoir Gate 30, Massachusetts

Site location
A lovely 1.5 mile hike through the quiet forest brought me to my day's destination, the end of Sholan Point.  Now here was a view!  The end of Sholan Point is high and rocky and provides one of the best panoramic views of the reservoir.   I'm sure that if it was closer to Route 110 and reliable parking, it would be a popular destination for lovebirds.

Sampling site
Eastern white pines (Pinus strobus) dominated the collection area, with various species of oaks (Quercus sp.) present in smaller numbers in the overstory as well as creating scrubby thickets in the understory.

Damselfly on fallen cone
Tapping 50 cones, I collected 9 spiders from 4 species.  Among them was a female Eridantes erigonoides (Linyphiidae, Erigoninae), one of the few microspiders I've been able to identify to species (so far).  Her epigynum was so distinctive that I was able to identify her by flipping through the illustrations in Paquin & Dupérré's Guide d'identification des araignées de Québec.

Eridantes erigonoides
Pseudoscorpion, family Neobisiidae
I collected 15 spiders and 3 species from a load of pine needle litter.  The species represented by mature specimens were Neon nellii (Salticidae), Phrurotimpus alarius (Phrurolithidae) and a linyphiid TBD that I recognize from earlier cone and litter samples.

Trailside mushroom
Nectaring Agapostemon sp. bees
The litter sample also contained numerous mites as well as a pseudoscopion (Order Pseudoscorpionida).  One of these days I will study this group of arachnids in greater detail.  They turn up fairly regularly in Pinus ponderosa cones in Washington state, but less frequently in P. strobus cones here in Massachusetts.

View of Wachusett Reservoir from end of Sholan Point

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