2019 sort session #15

Yesterday’s sort session was much more in line with what I think of as a “traditional” sort session – separating a Malaise trap sample into subsets of arthropods, across all orders. This particular trap was set up in my back yard (partial fulfillment of my first New Year’s resolution!) in the spring and summer of 2013. This photo from deep in my archive shows this very trap being set up in April 2013:

A man and two young kids set up a tent-like trap In a forest with leafy ground; a dog stares uselessly into the distance

István sets up a Malaise trap with three “helpers”. This trap was in place for several months. Photo (CC BY 2.0) by Andy Deans. Click for source

The trap yielded typical forest-dwellers, like Eucnemidae, Throscidae (I think?), Elateridae, Cerambycidae, Cynipidae, and a smattering of flies, collembolans, parasitoids and other hexapods. We even found some stoneflies (maybe Leuctridae) that moved uphill from Slab Cabin Run. The coolest find, for me anyway, was the three pirate spiders (Mimetidae: Mimetus sp.). I suspect they were there to prey upon the orb weaver(s) that like to set up in my Malaise traps.

One thing I did differently this time was to add to my pointed specimens a label that describes how it was pointed. It looked something like this:

Bristol board point, Tombow
MONO Aqua Liquid Glue
(polyvinyl alcohol)

I realize now I should put the date the specimen was pointed, so that someone doesn’t assume it was 2013. Last year I wrote about adhesives used in point mounts, and how we don’t have any ideal options. I have been using polyvinyl alcohol quite extensively since then, and I do love its working properties and its potential for long term stability. Labeling our point mounts will allow for future testing. I think it’s something we should all be doing, even though we have limited label space on a pin.

two adult spiders submerged in ethanol under a microscope; their anterior two pairs of legs have long spurs that are apparently adaptations for feeding on other spiders

Female and male pirate spiders (Mimetidae: Mimetus sp.), collected in a Malaise trap in Pine Grove Mills, PA. Photo (CC BY 2.0) by Andy Deans. Click for source

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