Spiders and their Kin

JH, JO and I led a hike at Skyline Ridge on Sunday 5/31. We had two other docents join us, as well as some “regulars,” one couple with kid who had been on our wildflower hike, and some new people who just happened to be up there. Ranger Loro also joined us for a little while. We doubled our count from last year and had 13 sign in, though two of the couples left early.

Thank goodness the sun was out, and it was warm, unlike on our scouting hike.

Fog on our scouting hike

Fog on our scouting hike

The first sighting was a web in the bathroom, with no apparent occupant, but last year a Black Widow spider showed itself on a night hike. Also, a ladybird beetle pupa was stuck onto a post near the bathroom.

An Assassin Bug, grasshopper with blue legs and yellow wings, and a different bee fly from the one we saw on our bee hike. But this one also played dead when contained. Sheet-web spiders were abundant. Some small labyrinth spiders had orbs and labyrinths on a shrub.

Tree hopper

Tree hopper

A spectacular White-lined Sphinx moth caterpillar along the trail, apparently browsing on Filaree, was a first. Then, a perched orange-red dragonfly, and then, another exciting find, a Windscorpion (Solfugid)!

The woods had a couple of Box-elder Bugs, another Assasin Bug, and finally, a small orb, the occupant of which was cooperative in running toward the vibrating tuning fork I held to the web.

Yellow Mariposa lilies were blooming, as well as a white Triteleia.

We spotted three Velvet Ants during the hike. Jumping Bristletails and a ladybird beetle larva were on the trail. In the chaparral, two Robber Flies were mating, and got back together in the container. The tiny black bees seen previously were still around, as were Checkerspot butterflies.

On the return from the chaparral, a coyote was almost hidden as it hunted downhill in the wild oats.

A couple more Stem Sawflies were found on California Buttercups. Walking back along the pond, honey bees continued to browse, and an orb weaver was almost hidden in the vegetation, next to a small web which seemed too small to belong to it.

Next time we do this we’ll have to have a more generic name. Lots of different arthropods; another great bug day.

See the photos from the scouting trip and the hike here.