|Site location map. Click to enlarge.|
|Fallback site in Fife|
My first stop was the industrial area along the the northern bank of the Puyallup river, in Fife. My plan was to tap cones dropped by the tall pines flanking the gates of Praxair, which I'd spotted months ago from Interstate 5 and had been dreaming of tapping ever since. When I arrived, however, I found road construction materials and machinery lining the road in front of Praxair and disturbing my intended cone accumulations. The congested roadway also made collecting along its margins too dangerous for my taste. So much for plans! Turning the car around, I was happy to almost immediately spot some large black pines (Pinus nigra) growing in the back corner of a nearby parking lot. Beneath them were dozens of well-opened cones. This would be my first site of the day.
|Black pine cones on needle litter, Fife|
I tapped 75 cones and collected 7 spiders, all juveniles. Most were the introduced European species Enoplognatha probably-ovata (Theridiidae), one of the most common spiders I find in fallen cones in western Washington. I found no O. praticola.
|A ponderosa pine dominates|
the tiny greenspace next to
the fire station
|Shore pines with fallen cones beneath|
Next I crossed the river and entered Tacoma proper. A tiny triangle of land behind Tacoma Fire Station 2 supported three species of pine, each of which had dropped fully opened cones. I sampled two separate cone accumulations. Set I was comprised of Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) and black pine (P. nigra) cones lying on mossy and/or grassy ground or needle litter. Set II was comprised of shore pine (P. contorta var. contorta) and black pine cones lying mostly on bare ground or a very thin layer of pine needles.
|Set I cones on moss|
|Xysticus cristatus female|
I found no O. praticola in either set of fire station cones.
|Shore pine cones|
Continuing westward, I next stopped at a semi-industrial plaza at the corner of Center and S. Pine that had a row of shore pines planted along its border. Tapping 50 cones there I collected only one spider, a juvenile Phrurotimpus sp. (Phrurolithidae). I often find one or more juvenile Phrurotimpus in my western Washington cone samples, and indeed had already done so this day in the Fife and fire station samples. While I was processing the cones, a crow plucked a stick from the tree canopy above me. Nest-building time!
|Massive western white pine|
To this point none of the day's samples had been very speciose. That changed with the fallen western white pine (P. monticola) cones I tapped in suburban Fircrest. I collected 25 spiders and 7 species from 55 cones! I haven't yet identified two of the species, but the others were all western Washington urban cone standards: the theridiid Cryptachaea blattea and the linyphiids Lepthyphantes leprosus, Tachygyna vancouverana, and Tenuiphantes tenuis. No O. praticola, however.
The Ozyptila praticola question
All told, I tapped 355 cones at 4 sites this day. If O. praticola is present in the greater Tacoma area, it isn't numerous or widespread enough to be detected by my sampling method. I also didn't find any O. praticola last fall in the cities of Lakewood and DuPont, which lie immediately south of Tacoma.
|Nest-building crow with twig in beak.|