domingo, 1 de maio de 2011

Day 16 - Spiders through Madeira

We met Isamberto around 10:30 after some shopping for tomorrow’s Cobra50 protocol in the Ponta de São Lourenço.

The first stop was in the area of São Vicente, where we stopped in a road by the north coast, that goes around some massive rocks that house a couple of interesting spiders. Maybe the most remarkable sighting here was a subadult male of Hogna maderiana. For someone who is accustomed to find Hognas under rocks and in dry places, finding a large lycosid in a retreat at more than 1 meter high, in a damp habitat, is somewhat surprising!

After this stop we decided to have lunch in a nearby restaurant.

The next destination was a patch of spectacular laurel forest in Chão da Ribeira, with huge trees creating a shady forest (til e laurus). We didn’t see many spiders, as the weather was a bit rainy, but still some interesting specimens were collected, with the head of interest being the huge Dysdera specimens we found hiding in rotting logs in their cocoons. We held our grounds for a while here, but at about 16:00 we returned through the path and jumped from stone to stone to cross a river and reach the parking spot. Next stop: Fanal, also a laurel forest area, but very different from Chão da Ribeira because this was an altitude forest. In fact, if you discard the species of tree that you face you could easily think of this as a Mediterranean oak forest, but of course that once you see an arboreal Erica species and other genus as Ilex and Vaccinium you remember that you are in a laurel forest. Here, we spent most of our time going through the bark of Erica trees, as these housed many different spiders, from Drassodes, Cheiracanthium albidulum, Macaroeris, Clubiona decora, Enoplognatha, Steatoda, Scotophaeus to Dysdera! After the “Erica-stop” we decided to move to another spot, still in the Fanal area. We continued to go up, and Isamberto’s car thermometer pointed out 5ºC. We stopped in one of the places where another remarkable species of Hogna can be found: Hogna nonanullata. This species shares some of the habit of it’s close relative H. maderiana and takes refuge also in high places in ridges, not discarding other types of refuge like rocks or bark of trees. After 2 females of this species and another of Hogna heeri were captured, we were ready to head down. Because it was still early, we stopped by in another place, in an urban area, Campanário, where we could find some common araneoids, like Cyrtophora citricola, Argiope trifasciata, Uloborus walckenaerius and some jumping spiders.

Meanwhile, the afternoon was finished and what followed next was a dinner with good company and we were ready to return to heavy field work tomorrow.