Thursday, April 6, 2017

4-Apr-2017 Rapjohn Lake, Washington

Site location map. Click to enlarge.
Back in the field with Rod Crawford! Our last field trip together was in November, so this day was a welcome start to a new, combined field season. Rod selected Rapjohn Lake as our destination. Rapjohn is one of a string of small lakes located where a Pleistocene glacial drift plain meets the western foothills of Mount Rainier. Had the sky been clear, we would have had a grand view of the snow-clad volcano. The distance from lake to the peak is less than 30 miles, as the crow flies.
Moody skies over Rapjohn Lake
Douglas-firs lined the parking area
and game area access road.
Fallen Douglas-fir cones
Of course my first order of business was tapping fallen conifer cones. Seeing no western white pines in the area, I settled for Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii). I tapped 97 cones and collected 9 spiders. The catch may have been small in number but it did provide the only specimens of Tachygyna vancouverana (Linyphidiidae) and Neottiura bimaculatum (Theridiidae) collected at the site. In addition, I tapped a female Scotinella (Phrurolithidae) from the cones that Rod has yet to identify. He sifted the same species from riparian poplar litter.

Salticus scenicus male
A female Pimoa altioculata in profile
Besides tapping cones, I also did a fair amount of grass sweeping and spider collecting from signs and structures. I found the familiar zebra jumping spider Salticus scenicus (Salticidae) hunting on the exterior of nearly every structure I examined, while individual Parasteatoda tepidariorum (Theridiidae) were in their cobwebs under nearly ever eave. The interior of the outhouse was both quite clean and well stocked with spiders. Among its inhabitants was a Pimoa altioculata (Pimoidae) female guarding her egg sac. The homeowners on either side of the public access were incredibly friendly and kindly invited me to collect spiders from the exteriors of their buildings. No doubt this increased the diversity of our catch!

You can read Rod's trip narrative here.

Fragrant apple blossoms.

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