Friday, November 13, 2015

12-Nov-2015 Issaquah, Washington

Known distribution of Ozyptila praticola
in Washington (so far)
After finding juvenile Ozyptila that were colored and patterned like praticola almost everywhere I looked in Seattle's eastern suburbs, I was convinced that the introduced thomisid was present east of Lake Washington.  But I lacked an adult specimen to prove it.  Until now, that is!

I returned to my previous sampling location in Issaquah, knowing that there were some untapped cones there dropped by "weeping" white pines (probably Pinus monticola 'Pendula').  This being late autumn, and judging from my recent experiences, I knew the likelihood of finding an adult Ozyptila praticola in any particular cone was not high.  But I also knew that the likelihood would increase with each cone I tapped.

My cone source was three ornamental
'weeping' pines
The strong winds predicted for the day had already begun to gust by the time I reached Issaquah.  This complicated the sorting of my tapping samples, but at least I didn't get rained on!  Once I started rooting around for P. monticola cones, I was pleasantly surprised to find 65 of them to tap.  The high count wasn't obvious at first because so many were hidden in and under the juniper bushes growing around the pines.

Fallen cones on shrubs, needle litter
and pavement.
Despite the bounty of cones, this was not a very productive set.  I only tapped 7 spiders from them -- a very low density of 0.11 spiders per cone when compared to the density of 1.43 I found a week earlier in nearby Woodinville.  However, one of those spiders was an adult female O. praticola!

Weather may force me to suspend further eastward sampling until spring.  Until then, I will probably refocus my search southward, towards Tacoma.

The star of the show, a female Ozyptila praticola from Issaquah, WA

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