Saturday, December 5, 2015

1-Dec-2015 Tacoma Mall, Washington

Site location. Click to enlarge.
On my most recent trip in search of the southern boundary of the introduced crab spider Ozyptila praticola (Thomisidae) in Washington state, I had leapfrogged over Tacoma and drove directly to DuPont and Lakewood, which I thought might lie in the southern reaches of the specie's local range.  Finding no O. praticola at the sites I sampled in those cities, it made sense to backtrack to Tacoma for my next sample.  Tacoma is the next major city south of the southern-most place I have confirmed O. praticola's presence (Federal Way).

Sample site. Screen grab from Google Street View.
On the drive to DuPont a few days prior, I had glimpsed several large pine trees growing around businesses near the Tacoma Mall.  Although I encountered the usual problems with most of them (cones and tree litter had been removed by groundskeepers, or fallen cones were present but not open), I did eventually find a row of shore pine (Pinus contorta) and Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris) trees planted along a stone wall supporting the raised parking lot for Macy's Furniture Gallery.  Unfortunately I have lost the photos I took at the site, but this screen grab (left) from Google Street View will suffice.  Note that there was more needle littler on the ground than is evident in this photo, but it was quite thin.

Although I was able to find 41 open or semi-open cones to tap, I found only two arachnids in them: 1 juvenile Enoplognatha probably-ovata spider, and 1 adult Paraligolophus agrestis harvestman.  Both are introduced species.  This was perhaps my most uninteresting cone sample to date.

At the moment, Federal Way remains the southern-most confirmed location of O. praticola in Washington state.  The search continues...

The spiders are out there.

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