Monday, March 16, 2015

13-Oct-2012 Wachusett Reservoir Gate 33, Massachusetts

Site location (click to enlarge)
Pine amid glowing maples
My 25th and final Wachusett Reservoir cone sampling site was a stony beach running along the southeastern shore of Greenhalge Point. By this time of year the maple trees were reaching peak autumn color, making the mile-long hike to the shore a glorious experience. Although Greenhalge Point is a popular destination for fishers (check out the Wachusett Reservoir Fishing Addicts page on Facebook, for example), I again had the place all to myself this day.  Throughout the summer the Wachusett Reservoir had been a quiet, peaceful place where I seldom encountered others beyond the parking areas.

Sample site
Lots of open cones ready to fall
Fallen cone on the rocky shore
Eastern white pine (Pinus strobus) trees growing at the forest edge had dropped open cones on the shore below.  Tapping 50 cones I collected 10 spiders, all juveniles.  Among them was a Euryopis sp. (Theridiidae).  Although I had collected two other juvenile Euryopis sp. from cones back in late July, there doesn't appear to be any species of Euryopis that is a reliable denizen of fallen cones in central Massachusetts like E. formosa is in eastern Washington state.

I didn't sift any litter at this site since I found almost none associated with the cones that I sampled.  And while the content of this final cone sample wasn't particularly exciting, it was gratifying to know that it contributed to the overall picture of spiders in fallen pine cones at Wachusett Reservoir. Over the course of my Wachusett Reservoir survey I tapped 338 spiders from 1,389 fallen P. strobus cones and sifted 331 spiders from about 115 liters of associated litter. Although many specimens still await complete identification, I collected about 30 morphospecies from fallen cones at Wachusett Reservoir.

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