Friday, March 10, 2017

Skye - Spiders on the Beach

Wow, what a difference a day makes. Glorious blue skies by late morning and it was almost (almost) warmish at one stage! For the first time this year I could have done with my net, I spied a fair sized bug flying low across a grassy strip, presumably a shieldbug. I followed it with my binoculars but lost it when it jinked into the undergrowth. Haha, the locals have yet to witness me dashing about with my butterfly net! But here's a nice springtime image for us all to enjoy, if you like this sort of thing...

Hope you're checking your local Daffs for Norellia spinipes, not known from Scotland...yet.
The tide was out so I had a poke along the shoreline finding a few bits n bobs but nothing very exciting. Low tide is still pretty high at the moment, it will be another couple of weeks before we have the lowest tides of the month. A washed up Cuvie stipe provided a morsel of interest with several Prickly Saddle Oyster Heteranomia squamula attached to part of the holdfast

Heteranomia squamula next to the delightfully named Wart Barnacle Verruca stroemia
The orange colouration through the shell is a puzzle. It seems to resemble egg batches, I brought it home with me for closer inspection, must remember to check! The rest of the flotsam was pretty mundane so I retreated up the beach to just above HWM and started turning boulders. This was more productive than I expected and I encountered numerous small staphylinids that look to belong to the subfamily Aleocharinae. I have no literature for these, plus I think they're a pretty hardcore group to crack. I took a few specimens and this short video. If anyone has any thoughts, ideas or suggestions as to species... 

video

The larger rocks in the foreground were the ones with the beetles and spiders beneath them

Beneath the same large rocks I found a good many spiders. They were pretty docile and none too rapid, often pulling their legs in rather than speeding away for cover. I think they are probably Halorates reprobus, I took 3 back with me to check under the microscope. Unfortunately none were adult male and I couldn't see any trace of an epigyne. I did get a half decent pic of the underside of the chelicerae though, taken whilst sandwiching the spider between two microscope slides! This doesn't seem to harm them, I can release them next time I'm at the beach.

Halorates reprobus? Just check out the 'teeth' on those jaws!

Here's a pic of a pair taken whilst still down on the shore, just moments after capture. They were really chilled, didn't even attempt to escape when the lid was removed. 

Look alright for Halorates reprobus?The third one is just beneath them.

Staying with arachnids for the moment, I found a striking spider hunting through the nooks and crannies of a sunlit wall. I watched it for a while before it presented an opportunity for me to quickly pot it up. I think this has to be Tetrix denticulata

Long spinnerets, abdominal patterning and habit of hunting on a wall all seem good for Tetrix denticulata
381 - Halorates reprobus (spider) - Lifer
382 - Tetrix denticulata (spider)
383 - Sea Mayweed (plant)
384 - Psilolechia lucida (lichen)
385 - Leptogium gelatinosum (lichen)

I also have a few more stoneflies, a very small water beetle and some mosses awaiting my attention from earlier today. I'll get round to them very soon. Well, maybe not the mosses bleurghhh.

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