Thursday, May 19, 2016

16-May-2016 Machias, Lake Stevens and Granite Falls, Washington

Site location map. Click to enlarge.
Returning to the search for the introduced crab spider Ozyptila praticola (Thomisidae), I tapped fallen cones in three towns located northeast of Snohomish: Machias, Lake Stevens and Granite Falls.

Machias Cemetery

Two Doug-fir clumps providing cones
at Machias Cemetery
Fallen cones in Machias Cemetery
I tapped a total of 100 fallen Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii) cones taken from three separate accumulations in the Machias Cemetery.  In all cases, I found the cones on tree needle and twig litter, sometimes with a bit of grass or other herbaceous vegetation poking through.  Juvenile harvestmen were exceedingly abundant in these cones, but spiders were harder to come by; I collected only 7, and none of them were O. praticola.  I did, however, collect a nice pair of mature Enoplognatha thoracica (Theridiidae) and a few female Tachygyna (Linyphiidae).

Lake Stevens City Boat Launch

Lake Stevens cone cource
The fallen cone microhabitat
Moving a few miles north I found two nice accumulations of Douglas-fir cones on needle litter in the parking area for the city's public boat ramp.  I began by tapping 50 cones from beneath the trees growing along the fenceline, and knew pretty quickly that I wouldn't need to sample the other accumulation as well.  These cones contained 2 female and 1 juvenile O. praticola.  Also present were Tenuiphantes tenuis and E. thoracica for a total of 10 spiders and 3 identifiable species.

Granite Falls

White pine towers over neighborhood
Fallen cones beneath a rhodie almost
done blooming
I had initially planned on tapping some Pinus nigra cones that I spotted beneath a lone tree in front of the car wash on the corner of Stanley St. and Alder Ave., but the area was so busy that I decided to look for a quieter spot.  Just a few blocks away in a residential section of town I found my cone source: a huge western white pine (Pinus monticola) growing in a lawn but whose fallen cones had been allowed to accumulate under a large rhododendron.  I tapped 50 cones and collected 19 spiders and 7-8 identifiable species.  What a rich deposit!  Among the species present was O. praticola, although only represented by juveniles.  The search for the boundary of Ozyptila praticola's local range continues!

Female Ozyptila praticola tapped from Douglas-fir cones in Lake Stevens

Lake Stevens under a heavy sky.

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