The Wild West

Posted by Graeme Lyons , Saturday 7 December 2019 19:22

This is my big spider weekend in the south west. Can I close the gap between myself and Matt? Yet what better way to get distracted from the spiders than with the gorgeous Blue Ground Beetle Carabus intricatus. It had been very wet, so yesterday morning was damp but good for spidering, the afternoon though was pretty soggy and a heavy down poor made suction sampling difficult. I met up with John Walters who kindly agreed to show me one of these magnificent beasts and also unexpectedly Kev Rylands, who I have not seen for nine years and is now a fellow top 20 pan-species lister. Just re-read that and it sounds like we found Kev in the field like a woodland creature (I can confirm Kev came with us and we didn't record him).

It's always a pleasure spending time with naturalists in the field on their patch, the last time I met John was the day that inspired me to write the first of my two Calosoma sycophanta blogs. I learned so much in the couple of hours we were together. Here are some more shots of this gorgeous beetle and a wee video showing how long and gangly it is.

And here is a common Carabus problematicus for comparison, just to show how different intricatus is. It looks very squat and plain in comparison.

And on the way back Kev spotted this amazing Witch's Whiskers Usnea florida! A lifer.

What a stunning landscape Dartmoor is. I have never really spent much time here.

Now for the spiders. The first species I recorded at Yarner Wood was actually Micrommata virescens! (if you don't include the two species I got at a service station that is). You know it's gonna be a good day when that's the first spider you find on a site.

By 10.30 am I got a new site/new 10 km square record and my favourite genus. Walckenaeria nodosa and Matt tells me only the third record for Dartmoor, this was in Sphagnum moss. I also picked up Stenus kiesenwetteri which John says is new to Dartmoor!

My other new spider for the day was Tenuiphantes alacris, Which just shows how little spidering I do in the north or west, it's really scarce in the south east.

Here is the spider list up to yesterday for the trip. Quite a few added today in another amazing day in the field but that will have to wait for another day! Loving it down here.

Amaurobius fenestralis
Bathyphantes gracilis
Centromerus dilutus
Cercidia prominens
Crustulina guttata
Dolomedes fimbriatus
Gonatium rubens
Gongylidiellum vivum
Mangora acalypha
Metellina mengei
Metellina merianae
Micrommata virescens
Nesticus cellulanus
Pholcus phalangioides
Phrurolithus festivus
Pisaura mirabilis
Savignya frontata
Steatoda nobilis
Taranuncus setosus
Tenuiphantes alacris
Tenuiphantes cristatus
Tenuiphantes zimmermanni
Theridiosoma gemmosum
Tiso vagans
Walckenaeria nodosa
Zilla diodea
Zora spinimana
Zygiella x-notata

1 Response to "The Wild West"

Gibster Says:

Never mind faffing about with that trash Usnea, can you get yer arse up here to Skye next Saturday? Got a lichen walk being led by Nick Hodgetts (yes, the same Nick Hodgetts who was president of the BBS) and I can show you PROPER lichens (and he can show you the bryos until your eyes pop). You still got Lobaria pulmonaria on your Most Wanted List? You're never more than 10ft from a patch of Lob up here, buddy!!! ;)

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