December 05, 2019

Winter Spiders

The arrival of winter certainly makes it a little more difficult to find spiders, particularly on those cold January days. Many of our common spiders settle into the leaf litter or hide behind the loose bark of a tree. But spiders can be active during the winter and I have found them crawling around on top of the snow on warmer, sunnier days.

Our homes continue to provide a temperate climate and many spiders can be found indoors during the winter. This may include the cellar spiders in the genus Pholcus that hang in webs near the ceiling in our basements, cobweb spiders like Steatoda triangulosa that can be found in the corners of rooms, and Tegenaria domestica which spins a funnel-shaped retreat back into the cracks or under that workshop bench. I've also found Asian Wall Jumpers hunting in the windows of my sunny office in February. Other species just seem to wander in when it gets cold: Herpyllus ecclesiasticus, Arctosa rubicunda, and Cheiracanthium mildei to name a few.

My winter challenge for the members of this project is to take a closer look at the spider fauna in your homes, your places of work, your churches, or other buildings and post those pictures here. When you visit family at Christmas in the outlying areas of the state, ask for a tour of the house and watch those corners!

Pholcus manueli and Pholcus phalangioides in particular have only been recorded in 13 counties each. There are even missing records from the Twin Cities. Find them and I'll list the new county records below.

Pholcus manueli :

Pholcus phalangioides : Stevens

Posted on December 05, 2019 15:52 by cheins1 cheins1 | 0 comments | Leave a comment

August 01, 2019

Autumn Argiopes

1 August 2019

The first records of Argiope aurantia (Yellow Garden Spider) and Argiope trifasciata (Banded Garden Spider) for 2019 are starting to pop up. Females of these species are some of the largest spiders in Minnesota. They are often found in open, sunny locations like prairies and grasslands (and gardens). The females sit in their large orb web during the day so they are easily seen and even a lousy cellphone picture can often be used to identify them definitively.

Can we establish the presence of this these two species in every county in Minnesota?
I'd like to make it the goal of this project and its members to try and establish those new county records from August until that killing frost we all know is coming. Take a look at the counties listed below. Maybe it's the county next door; maybe you'll be vacationing in that county in the coming month; maybe you're crazy enough to drive to Kittson County in the far northwest just to establish an Argiope county record (or maybe you know someone who is going birding there already who can take a picture of one of these beautiful spiders while they are there).

The following 50 37 counties have no records of Argiope aurantia:
Aitkin, Beltrami, Benton, Big Stone, Carlton, Cass, Chisago, Clearwater, Cook, Cottonwood, Crow Wing, Dodge, Douglas, Faribault, Fillmore, Grant, Houston, Hubbard, Itasca, Kanabec, Kandiyohi, Kittson, Koochiching, Lac Qui Parle, Lake, Lake of the Woods, Mahnomen, Marshall, Meeker, Mower, Murray, Nobles, Norman, Otter Tail, Pennington, Pine, Polk, Pope, Red Lake, Redwood, Roseau, St. Louis, Steele, Stevens, Swift, Traverse, Wadena, Waseca, Wilkin, and Wright.

The following 47 35 counties have no records of Argiope trifasciata:
Aitkin, Benton, Big Stone, Cass, Chippewa, Clearwater, Cook, Cottonwood, Crow Wing, Dodge, Fillmore, Freeborn, Goodhue, Houston, Hubbard, Itasca, Jackson, Kanabec, Kandiyohi, Kittson, Koochiching, Lake, Lake of the Woods, Lincoln, Mahnomen, Marshall, Martin, McLeod, Mille Lacs, Morrison, Mower, Murray, Nobles, Norman, Pennington, Pine, Pope, Red Lake, Roseau, Scott, Sibley, St. Louis, Steele, Swift, Todd, Wadena, and Wilkin.

I'll update this post as new county records get established. Happy spidering!

Posted on August 01, 2019 16:48 by cheins1 cheins1 | 4 comments | Leave a comment