Tuesday, April 14, 2015

28-Apr-2011 Ginkgo Petrified Forest, Washington

Site location (click to enlarge)
Ginkgo Petrified Forest is located at the intersection of Interstate 90 and the Columbia River in Vantage, Washington, in a mostly treeless region of the state.  The nearest naturally-occurring ponderosa pines (Pinus ponderosa) grow about 35 miles to the west in the foothills of the Cascade Range.  Yet a lone ponderosa pine, perhaps planted for shade, stands in front of the Ginkgo Petrified Forest's ranger station, dropping cones onto the Oregon grape (Mahonia aquifolium), pine needles and rocks below.

Pine cone beneath Oregon grape
in full flower
Lots of old webs on these cones
Tapping 50 of those cones netted (pun intended) me only two spiders, a male and a juvenile Sitticus dorsatus (Salticidae).  This species of jumping spider is uncommon in Washington state - there were only five records in the Burke Museum's spider database previous to this one.  Too bad then that a third specimen I tapped from a cone got away! Despite the low specimen count in this sample, the frequency with which I found old webs on the cones indicated lots of past spider activity.

Showy phlox (Phlox speciosa) growing through tall sagebrush (Artemisia tridentata)

No comments:

Post a Comment