Sunday, September 02, 2007

Shelob in her lair (Rock Flipping Day)

It was an iffy day today, threatening rain. I decided not to go far afield to flip rocks; instead, I investigated the vacant lot across the street that I Bioblitzed last April. Plenty of rocks there. One end is being used as a construction materials dump.

The older piles are overrun with weeds. I went searching for a nice-sized rock there.

At first I found very little, except for the centipedes that twisted once and disappeared, before my camera could focus. I got quite a few shots of mud with rootlets and nothing else. Down in the old creek bed, now dry (even under most of the rocks), a few small critters hid out, waiting for the fall rains.

A larva of some kind, perhaps a Rove Beetle.

I tried to photograph this blond slug, but the focus was off. I hadn't even seen the other resident until just before I hit my Delete key.

It looks like a harvestman of some sort, although the body looks very woodbugish. More BugGuide browsing ahead.***

That looked to be it. A white butterfly just escaped my camera and a bee waited until I had climbed the hillock to his clump of vetch, then left the area completely. Contrary beasts they are. I gave up and headed home.

Passing the pile of raw debris, I kicked over one last stone in my path, and a big spider scrambled out of the way. And waited politely on a leaf until the camera clicked.

Thanks, buddy. Now you can go home.

Hidey-hole, with remains of dinners past. (I think the glossy pieces are from ants.)

Look closely; see the legs on either side of the tunnel? The rear end of the abdomen is just visible.

Again, checking out the photos, I discovered another spider in the same web. A different colour, a different shape; just a hanger-on, looking for scraps from Shelob's dinners? Or venturing into dangerous territory unaware?

See it there, at the base of the leaf? Click on the image for a better view. **

Hey, this was fun! Thanks, Dave, Bev and Fred for the idea!

*Update: these photos, and more, posted to Flickr group, International Rock-Flipping Day. Check out everybody's photos here.

**The large spider is an Agelenopsis, a funnel-web spider. The tiny one may be a dwarf spider.

***Christopher Taylor of Catalogue of Organisms says it definitely is a harvestman. (See comments.)


  1. Yep, that's definitely a harvestman in the photo with the slug. You might even be able to identify which species if you can find out what's in your area - there probably wouldn't be a great many species in British Columbia.

  2. Thanks,Chris,

    I spent some time on BugGuide, trying to find a similar harvestman on the west coast, with no luck so far. I had photographed a couple from my back yard, but they seemed different.

    I'm glad to hear from you that I'm on the right track.

    BTW, I just noticed that you had passed on the thinking blogger award to me; I am inordinately pleased. Thanks so much.

  3. I did enjoy your hidey-hole pictures and spider identification. I've been photographing many of these recently and didn't know what to call them.

    Agelenopsis - Thanks!

    And thanks for steering me to Bug Guide.


I'm having to moderate all comments because Blogger seems to have a problem notifying me. Sorry about that. I will review them several times daily, though, until this issue is fixed.

Also, I have word verification on, because I found out that not only do I get spam without it, but it gets passed on to anyone commenting in that thread. Not cool!

Powered By Blogger