Sunday, March 1, 2015

25-Jul-2012 Wachusett Reservoir Gate 22, Massachusetts

Location of sample sites
Zoom-in of site locations
Delayed 2 days by rain, I was happy to see the sun shining and made a bee-line for Gate 22.  I'd had my eye on an unnamed forested peninsula located due west across the reservoir from Dover Point.  My intent was to sample eastern white pine (Pinus strobus) cones and wrack along the peninsula's shores, and then sample cones and litter from the grove of pines on the peninsula itself.

Juvenile Euryopis sp. from Site A cone
Site A wrack
I tapped 55 cones at Site A, the sand and pebble beach stretching along the west side of the peninsula and nearby cove.  Of the 8 resulting spiders, all juveniles, the most interesting to me was a Euryopis sp. (Theridiidae).  Euryopis formosa is the most common spider found in fallen pine cones in eastern Washington state, but so far that hasn't been the case for any species of Euryopis in central Massachusetts.  Although pine needle wrack was present along considerable stretches of the beach, it was quite thin.  The meager quarter of a load I was able to collect only provided 1 spider, a male dictynid.

Site B
Site B cone with agelenid web
Moving into the pure stand of white pines on the peninsula (Site B), I collected 9 spiders from 55 tapped cones, including another juvenile Euryopis sp. and a penultimate Agelenopsis sp. female (Agelenidae).

The pine needle litter at Site B was much more productive (and of course voluminous) than was the wrack on the beach.  I collected 6 spiders and two species, a female Dictyna sp. (Dictynidae) and a male Ceraticelus sp. (Linyphiidae).  Like so many other of my specimens, final species determination will have to wait until I get access to a better microscope.

Site C microspider, identity TBD
Site C cones
Since I had a little extra time to spare, I decided to tap an additional 55 cones in a dense "inland and upland" pine-oak woods along the trail back to the gate.  The cones produced 13 spiders, including 3 female microspiders TBD.  I've collected the same morphospecies elsewhere around the reservoir.
 Pearl Crescent (Phyciodes tharos) on winged sumac (Rhus copallinum)

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