Weekend Expedition 19: Black Widow collecting at Island View Beach

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This Weekend Expedition was an important working trip, to collect wild stock for Catherine’s western black widow colony. Catherine studies the sexual communication of these beautiful spiders, and requires wild stock to work on. The purpose of this trip was to collect adult females, as well as egg sacs to give the annual boost that her colony requires. We set out Sunday morning to Island View Beach on the Saanich Peninsula of Vancouver Island to turn over logs and search for a hidden treasure of Latrodectus hesperus.

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On the ferry ride over, Catherine begrudgingly shared her breakfast with some gulls.

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And became a big star!

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Providing some close up views of gulls flying over water!

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Island View Beach

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Catherine explains the double pocket technique: load one pocket with empty vials, and transfer to the other as you collect the spiders.

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Jeff and Chloe search a log

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Devin traversed the dunes.

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A rare overwintered male black widow. It is darker than ones reared in the lab.

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A not-yet-adult female black widow.

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Black widows were not the only spiders we found of course. Here is a female hobo spider with her egg sac.

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A crab spider waits out the rain under a log

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We also saw many Dysdera crocata, the Woodlouse Hunter

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which are well-endowed with huge fangs, an adaptation to defeat their well-armoured prey.

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A grub of what I presume is Polyphylla decemlineta, the 10-lined June beetle

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an Enormous Banana Slug!

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Termites, walking in a line. These are likely Reticulotermes hesperus, the western drywood termite. Pay attention Entomology 317 students! Driftwood filled beaches!

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More social insect action!

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A beautiful Carabid

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Lunch on the beach in the rain

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A very short collection trip comes to an end.

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Posing with the booty!

5 thoughts on “Weekend Expedition 19: Black Widow collecting at Island View Beach

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