Monday, May 11, 2015

20-Aug-2011 Watson Lakes Trail, Washington

Site location (click to enlarge)
Joining Rod Crawford and friends on a spider collecting trip in a subalpine meadow on Anderson Butte in the North Cascades, I didn't expect to be tapping cones this day.  But the Watson Lakes Trail leading to our destination climbed through an old growth forest of Pacific silver fir (Abies amabilis) and mountain hemlock (Tsuga mertensiana).  The hemlock had dropped cones alongside the trail, and naturally I couldn't resist tapping them!

A flash was required to get a sharp photo of
fallen hemlock cones in the dense, dark forest
The 36 tiny, inch-long cones that I tapped harbored some even tinier arachnids; 3 juvenile linyphiids from the microspider sub-family Erigoninae, and 2 juvenile harvestmen.  Add another species of conifer to the cone spider list!

So far, I've found spiders in the fallen cones of the following conifer species:
Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa)
Western white pine (P. monticola)
Eastern white pine (P. strobus)
Red pine (P. resinosa)
Lodgepole pine (P. contorta var. latifolia)
Coulter pine (P. coulteri)
Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii)
Mountain hemlock (Tsuga mertensiana)

Be sure to check out Rod's narrative and photo album from Watson Lakes Trail!

Marsh marigolds (Caltha leptosepala) emerging from the snow in subalpine meadow
above the fir-hemlock forest.  Mt. Baker was stunning in the distance.

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