Päiväkirja-arkisto kohteelle toukokuu 2022

24. toukokuuta 2022

Warblers and Jumpers

I've discovered over the years that many of my fellow entomologists and araneologists are also birdwatchers. Birds come in so many shapes and sizes, with muted to gaudy colors and a diversity of bird songs and call notes. Throw in annual migrations and other fascinating behaviors and you have the perfect organism to draw someone into a lifelong pursuit of learning. Most birdwatchers can trace back to the moment when they became a birdwatcher and not just a casual observer of birds. For me and many other birdwatchers, we point to our first brush with warblers in the month of May. For me, that brush occurred when I was only 14 and I noticed some little birds flitting about in the elm in my backyard. The first warbler I looked at was a Prothonotary; the second was a Blackburnian. Each little bird I looked at that morning with my dad's binoculars was different and each one was prettier than the next. I was hooked.

I would say a similar thing happened to me to get me interested in spiders. I had decided to teach about animal communities and had selected spiders as my model organisms. I was naïve to think that I knew something about them and that spiders did not have the overwhelming diversity of insects. The plan was to have students collect spiders from the sides of various buildings and compare the communities of buildings adjacent to woodlands with buildings further away from the woodlands. To prepare myself and make sure I knew what we would encounter, I began capturing spiders off of the buildings, taking their picture under a microscope and returning them to their habitat.

One of the first spiders I encountered was the common, synanthropic Zebra Jumper (Salticus scenicus) with its bold black and white stripes. I had known this jumper since I was a little kid and was unaware of any other species. But then I turned a corner and found another black and white jumper with a completely different pattern. I would go on to learn it was a Flea Jumper (Naphrys pulex). Asian Wall Jumper (Attulus fasciger) was next and then I had my Prothonotary moment. A very fast moving jumping spider that ran and hid behind the siding when I first saw it. It was larger and more colorful and it would take several efforts to finally catch it. It was a female Dimorphic Jumper (Maevia inclemens) with bold red chevrons on her abdomen and reddish eyes. I was hooked.

With over 70 species of jumping spiders recorded in Minnesota, Salticidae is still one of my favorite families to study. I love to look at the green metallic chelicerae of the large and curious Phidippus jumpers or the leg ornamentation on male Habronattus. Some jumpers are so tiny as to be overlooked (Talavera minuta/Neon nelli) while others hide in plain sight as ant mimics (Synemosyna/Synageles/Peckhamia). Still others are just as gaudy as warblers (Pelegrina flavipes, Hentzia mitrata, Paradamoetas fontanus).

By the way, as a result of extensive jumping spider surveys in Minnesota, the jumping spider, Tutelina formicaria, is listed as state threatened (the only spider listed as such in Minnesota). It is an ant mimic and is only known to occur in Anoka County. There are other species listed as species of special concern and you can find them listed in the DNR's rare species guide here: http://files.dnr.state.mn.us/natural_resources/ets/endlist.pdf.

Keep an eye out for those jumpers!

Lähetetty 24. toukokuuta 2022 15:04 käyttäjältä cheins1 cheins1 | 0 kommenttia | Jätä kommentti