Monday, April 13, 2015

24-Apr-2011 Nason Creek Rest Area & Southwest Leavenworth, Washington

Site locations (click to enlarge)
Marie Rose and I decided to take a mini vacation to see some of the giant landforms in eastern Washington created by the repeated, cataclysmic releases of water from Glacial Lake Missoula about 13,000 years ago.  Naturally, I brought my spider net.

Nason Creek R.A. sample site
Crossing the Cascade crest at Stevens Pass, we quickly descended into ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) country and made a pit stop at Nason Creek Rest Area.  Rod Crawford and I had stopped there the previous summer, so I already knew that it was a convenient place to get a cone sample.  Tapping 71 cones, I collected 6 juvenile spiders.  The "pine cone spider" Euryopis formosa (Theridiidae) was the only identifiable specimen among them.

View of Leavenworth site from above
Me and some cones
Our next stop, the intersection of Route 2 and Icicle Creek Road in Leavenworth, was only a 20 minute drive down the mountain from Nason Creek Rest Area, but 1,000 feet lower in elevation.

Climbing up a small rocky prominence, I was able to find 31 ponderosa cones that hadn't rolled down off the mountain.  Luckily we didn't either!  Though small, this batch of cones was much more productive than the Nason Creek R.A. sample: 11 spiders and 4 species!  Only after several more years of sampling would we realize that 3 of those species, E. formosa, Pholcophora americana (Pholcidae) and Meioneta fillmorana (Linyphiidae), are the first-, second-, and third-most common spider species found in fallen pine cones in eastern Washington.

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