|Site location map. Click to enlarge.|
We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all pine cones are worthy of tapping, that they are endowed, by their INTERSTITIAL SPACES, with certain unalienable Benefits to Spiders, that among these are Habitat, Refuge, and the Pursuit of Prey.
In other words, since I needed to go to Florida anyways, I took the opportunity to tap a few fallen pine cones while there. The effort has allowed me to place Florida on the World Map Of Pine Cone Spiders!
|Location of Sites 1 and 2|
|Location of Site 3|
|Site 1 cone source: sand pine plantation|
|Site 1 fallen cone microhabitat|
|Juvenile salticid from Site 1|
|Site 2 cone source: longleaf|
|A Site 2 cone|
|Female Heteroonops spinimanus from|
In addition to a fair number of spiders, the Site 2 cones held oodles of small cockroaches. For once, spiders weren't the fastest runners in my net!
|Site 3 cone source: longleaf pine near|
|Site 3 cones|
Half a dozen longleaf pines had dropped enough cones in unmowed lakeside grass or in or near planting boxes around their bases that I was easily able to find 50 cones to tap.
|A spitting spider, Scytodes sp.|
Scytodids are unique among spiders in capturing prey by spitting strands of glue from the fangs; hence the common name. The glue is produced in an enlarged posterior lobe of the venom gland that occupies much of the prosoma and accounts for the convex carapace of the spider. Prey is bound to the substrate and immobilized, from a distance of up to a few cm, by fine strands of glue with venom that are sprayed extremely rapidly (140 ms).
|Male brown anole|
|Anole with cone|
Wheeler and Stoops (2010) reported the presence of spiders in fallen longleaf pine cones in Alabama, Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina. This blog post is the first report that I am aware of that confirms the presence of spiders in fallen cones in Florida.
Ubick, D., P. Pacquin, P.E. Cushing and V. Roth (eds). 2005. Spiders of North America: an identification manual. American Arachnological Scoiety, Keene (New Hampshire). 377 pages.
Wheeler, A.G., Jr. and C.A. Stoops. 2010. Cnemodus hirtipes Blatchley and C. mavortius (Say) (Hemiptera: Lygaeoidea: Rhyparochromidae) in fallen pine cones, with consideration of the biological significance of cone occupancy. Proceedings of the Entomological Society of Washington 112:155–168.
|Ants carrying sand grains near Lake Elbert (Site 3)|
|American alligator (Alligator mississippiensis) near Site 2|
|Sun streaming through Spanish moss (not really moss, but a bromeliad!) on oak at Site 3|