My spidering kit

You don’t need a DSLR, professional science equipment, or even a really expensive smartphone to get up close with spiders (or any other bugs). I’ve been using my cheap-ass smartphone and gear cobbled together from the dollar store for years. So, here’s what I’m using right now, as well as some recommendations for other stuff I’ve used in the past. Continue reading My spidering kit

Update: Pinecone Spiders

Summer spidering season is well underway, and I’m no longer turning over pinecones in search of spiders. But I just stumbled across this 2016 blog post by Rod Crawford (of Seattle, WA’s Burke Museum) about Laurel Ramseyer’s research! Since 2008 she’s been sampling fallen pinecones for spiders—apparently a niche unexplored till now. This turned up the first record of the jumping spider Pseudoeuophrys lanigera in North America and has also proved useful for tracking the range of the crab spider Ozyptila praticola.

In 2015, Ramseyer and Crawford wrote a paper summarizing their findings about the pinecone-dwelling spiders of Washington State. A lot of mesh-web weavers (family Dictynidae), ground spiders (Gnaphosidae), sheet-web weavers and dwarf spiders (Linyphiidae), and cobweb spiders (Theridiidae). A lot different from all the running crab spiders (Philodromus) in my lakeside pinecones. They also mention finding a lot of Euryopis, a spider I’ve failed to find at all in my area despite seeing their distinctive tufty egg sacs all the time. Maybe that’s where I should be looking.

Time to do some reading and up my pinecone game…

Arachnews: May 3, 2021

Well, I’m back. Much like a tarantula, I felt the need to seal myself into a burrow for several months on end for no particular reason. This isn’t even close to covering the backlog. But here is a sprinkling of arachnid-related art, news, and science from the last several months, including:

  • VR spiderweb sound art
  • slingshot spiders and harvesters on treadmills
  • new species with nerdy and musical names
  • upcoming arachnology conferences
  • and more…

Read more on Medium.

Field journal: More spiders in pinecones

A nice routine I have fallen into over the past several months is spider-hunting while catching up on the podcast The History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps. And so

“Like Rodney Dangerfield, obsessive collectors get no respect. The word ‘trainspotter’, which refers to a railway enthusiast, is, in British English, synonymous with ‘loser’, and there is indeed something slightly tragic about someone who spends all their free time looking for things the rest of us find pointless.”

Me:

Me: ಠ___ಠ

Aaaanyway, here’s a bunch of spiders and whatnot I’ve found on recent winter excursions. Continue reading Field journal: More spiders in pinecones

Field Journal: A Sunnyside pinecone

A few days ago, suffering from cabin fever, I went down to the Sunnyside boardwalk to flip rocks and see what I could find. Pickings were meagre at first, but I struck pay dirt with a pinecone! Pinecones will now be part of my winter spider-hunting repertoire. Continue reading Field Journal: A Sunnyside pinecone

Arachnews: September 30, 2020

I’M BACK, BITCHES. In the latest roundup of all things spider, scorpion, harvester, mite, and more:

  • arachnologists on livestreams and podcasts
  • #PruittData retractions and other developments
  • research on venom, silk, agriculture, ecology, and more
  • new species from around the world
  • …and more!

Read it on Medium.

Field Journal: Humber Bay Shores Park

In early May, jealous of all the UK people posting their Pardosa observations, I headed to Humber Bay Shores Park early one morning to see if our native Ontario wolf spiders were out yet. They were not. However, I did find lots of other arthropods! A couple of second-timers—almost as exciting as first-timers. Continue reading Field Journal: Humber Bay Shores Park

Arachnews: May 31, 2020

We’re back, baby. In the latest roundup of arachnid news, media, and science:

  • arachnological organizations’ statements on #BlackLivesMatter
  • arachnologists on livestreams
  • research on extreme sexual dimorphism, spider collecting techniques, and tailless whipscorpion senses
  • new species from around the world
  • and much more…

Read it on Medium.

Field Journal: Socially Distant Spidering

We’re starting to get the odd day of genuine nice spring weather—and people are flocking to the outdoors. Many parks are closed and the Martin Goodman Trail is packed. So those in search of a nice out-of-the-way spot need to get a little creative. Continue reading Field Journal: Socially Distant Spidering