Thursday, May 21, 2015

30-Jun-2008 Whitepine Creek Trailhead, Washington

Site location (click to enlarge)
I don't know whether white pine trees really grow along Whitepine Creek, but imagine my delight at finding not just western white pine (Pinus monticola) growing at Whitepine Creek Trailhead, but ponderosa (P. ponderosa) and lodgepole (P. contorta var. latifolia) pine too!

Tri-pine forest
The cones of lodgepole pines tend to remain on the branches for years, so there weren't many around to tap.  But white and ponderosa pines drop their cones annually.  I got to work tapping those.  I collected 6 spiders and 3 species from an unknown number of ponderosa cones, and 10 spiders and two species from white pine cones.

Ponderosa cones in bearberry
The two cone samples both contained numerous specimens of the "pine cone spider" Euryopis formosa (Theridiidae), and I found the uncommon species Enoplognatha intrepida (Theridiidae) in the ponderosa sample.  But the most interesting find was from the white pine cones: 3 female, 1 male and 1 juvenile Theridion rabuni (Theridiidae).  This was the first time this species had been recorded in the state.

Theridion rabuni collection sites in Washington
In the subsequent two years I would also tap T. rabuni from cones found near the mouth of Chatter Creek and at Nason Creek Rest Stop.  Curiously, all three locations are located in river valleys surrounding the Chiwaukum Mountains.

Read Rod's trip narrative here!
A comma (Polygonia sp.) gave Rod the Hermes look

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