Friday, June 26, 2015

24-Jun-2015 North Fork Teanaway River, Washington

Site locations (click to enlarge)
Today I had the pleasure of teaming up with not only Rod Crawford, but also field volunteer Jessi Bishopp.  With three of us sampling, we figured we'd complete our work in record time.  And bonus for me, Jessi was willing to drive.

Our collecting sites were both located near the North Fork Teanaway River.  The main site, Twentynine Pines Campground, was located in the northern reaches of the newly minted Teanaway Community Forest.  The now-public forest is the result of a recent purchase by the State of Washington of more than 50,000 acres (20,000 ha) in the Teanaway River watershed.  The Teanaway River is a tributary of the Yakima River, which itself is a tributary of the mighty Columbia River.

29 Pines Campground sample site
Fallen ponderosa cones at 29 Pines
Twentynine Pines Campground (not to be confused with this place) more than lived up to its name.  Hundreds of mature ponderosa pines (Pinus ponderosa) dotted the site, as did numerous Douglas-firs (Psuedotsuga menziesii). Most of the cones I tapped were laying on needle litter in an untrammeled tangle of snowberry (Symphoricarpos albus), wild rose (Rosa sp.) and false hellebore (Veratrum sp.).

Callobius in web in ponderosa cone
Long-horned beetle
I tapped 17 spiders and 2 species from 50 fallen ponderosa cones.  These included numerous juvenile Callobius sp. (Amaurobiidae), a female Lepthyphantes mercedes (Linyphiidae) which Rod tells me is usually found at higher elevations, and a juvenile Bassaniana utahensis (Thomisidae).  I also collected B. utahensis from beneath ponderosa bark scales. A full load of pine needle litter produced 5 juvenile spiders.

While I was sifting the needle litter, a friendly camper rushed over with his hand covering a cup that held a "spider" that had crawled up his leg.  Well, it was a lovely specimen, but it was no spider.  It was a long-horned beetle!

Spire-shaped P. monticola
at Johnson Medra Trailhead
Many P. monticola cones were lying next to
budding pipsissewa (Chimaphila umbellata)
Since we finished sampling the campground habitats with plenty of daylight to spare, we decided to sample a second location in the same gridspace. Johnson Medra Trailhead is located only a few miles north of the campground, but 500 feet higher in elevation.  This apparently puts it just outside of the range of the local ponderosas.  I was a bit disappointed about that until I spotted a white pine sapling. As luck would have it, the trailhead was home to several mature western white pines (P. monticola).

P. strobus has spreading growth form
(photographed in Arenac Co., MI)
I hadn't spotted the white pines when we drove into the site, I suppose because I'm still keyed into the iconic shape of the eastern white pine (P. strobus) that I grew up seeing.  Looking only at needles and cones, the two species are virtually indistinguishable.  But the spire-shaped P. monticola couldn't be more different in growth form than the spreading P. strobus.  I have to recalibrate my eyeballs!

Fifty tapped P. monticola cones produced only 5 spiders and 1 species, a female Anyphaena (Anyphaenidae) that will have to be dissected to confirm the species.

Rod and Jessi sifting leaf litter at Twentynine Pines Campground

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