First of all, I can’t believe our last sort session was all the way back in July! That’s embarrassing. I guess time flies when you’re teaching insect evolution and trying to reopen to the public after six years. A long time ago I wrote about my interest in winter arthropods, one of many entomological obsessions. I thought it’d be useful to finally go through my accumulated lots of snow-bound arthropods during this week’s newly rekindled sort session.
I have several lots from last February, for example, collected on days that approached 50ºF (10ºC). They contained tons of spiders – juvenile Lycosidae, a handful of male Linyphiidae (small orange buggers), juvenile male Salticidae and Thomisidae – and a handful of flies (Limoniidae and Chironomidae) and snow scorpionflies (Boreidae). The most exciting specimen for me was one I’d never seen before and which I think is a new species, genus, and family for our collection: Cybaeota calcarata (Emerton, 1911) (Araneae: Cybaeidae). Cybaeota spiders are more diverse and common in the western USA, but this species is known from Canada, as far east and north as Newfoundland, and the nearby states of New York and New Hampshire. My specimen was a mature male, which apparently are more common in the summer (see Bennett, 1988). Alas, I forgot to image it before I put it into the collection, but here’s a photo of a female (?) from the Barcode of Life initiative: