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dr_wu002
06-22-2005, 09:30 AM
Anyone that has ever hiked above Treeline in the Presidentials during the summer months will know what I'm talking about: Little, black spiders... they're all over the place and really fast. I don't think they spin webs. I saw literally hundreds of millions of them over the weekend (Jefferson, Adams, Madison via. Great Gulf, Six Husbands, Gulfside, Osgood Ridge -- this will serve as the trip report: great weather, Six Husbands was fun and easy, Osgood Ridge Trail goes on forever. Pictures: http://community.webshots.com/album/374482318EiZoBp) but I just wasn't in the mood to try and photograph one of those buggers. They run away so fast I'm not sure that I'm quick enough.

Can anyone identify what kind of spider this is and does it only live above treeline? I've never seen this type of spider before below the tree canopy although maybe it's a coincidence. Does anybody have a close-up picture? I'm interested because I see so many of these things on the Rock Pile but I never see enough bugs that I believe to sustain the spider population. I know they are not vegetarians and they don't eat hikers so what is their food supply? I oftentimes wonder just what lives below all the rocks up there. Any info?

-Dr. Wu

HikerBob
06-22-2005, 09:45 AM
OK - so I take a lot of photographs....

Here is a spider (http://www.bobspics.com/hike04/04-07-24/page32.html) from my Adams trip last year.

They were everywhere! I kept seeing things moving out of the corner of my eye but there was nothing there when I looked. I think they were out sunning themselves on the rock but hid when I got close. I stopped for a few seconds and they all popped out again. Freaky!

My question then, and now, is what do they do in winter? They have anti-freeze for blood? :)

Bob

Jay H
06-22-2005, 09:51 AM
Arachnids have thousands of babies.. all it requires is just a few to survive!

As far as the identification goes. I have no clue. I may ID tarantulas but as far as true spiders and arachnids, my knowledge is small.

Arachnids don't hibernate and it is true that the cold will kill most, but since they are small and can fit in the tiniest of places, sheer luck and some work can mean they will survive.

Jay

NH_Mtn_Hiker
06-22-2005, 09:52 AM
I asked the hut "Nature Expert" when I stayed at Lake of the Crowds last summer, I think she said they were Wolf Spiders.

vegematic
06-22-2005, 09:56 AM
I'll second the Wolf Spider ID, but I have no further information on them.
-vegematic

Artex
06-22-2005, 10:01 AM
Information on the wolf spider (http://www.enature.com/fieldguide/showSpeciesSH.asp?curGroupID=4&shapeID=1022&curPageNum=22&recnum=IS0119)

MEB
06-22-2005, 10:04 AM
On Bondcliff this past weekend I noticed some very tiny spiders on my pack but they seemed to be able to jump. I'm not fond of jumping spider! On the other hand I've encountered a few wolf spiders up by the camp on the dock....they are HUGE (almost the size of my fist!) and move wicked fast.

SteveHiker
06-22-2005, 10:07 AM
I don't know about spiders, but I can say that the big cairn on top of Eisenhower is sometimes infested with fleas!

TCD
06-22-2005, 10:10 AM
I'm not fond of spiders, but I'm especially not fond of spiders that move "wicked fast." They are among my most disliked of creatures.

JJD
06-22-2005, 10:22 AM
On Bondcliff this past weekend I noticed some very tiny spiders on my pack but they seemed to be able to jump. I'm not fond of jumping spider! On the other hand I've encountered a few wolf spiders up by the camp on the dock....they are HUGE (almost the size of my fist!) and move wicked fast.


Uggghh, I hope you have a small fist. If I saw a spider the size of my fist I would be in a dead sprint in the other direction. :eek:

NH_Mtn_Hiker
06-22-2005, 10:23 AM
Everything you didn't need to know about Wolf Spiders (http://www.americanarachnology.org/JoA_free/JoA_v11_n1/JoA_v11_p1.pdf)

The Wof Spiders in the Whites appear to be Arctosa Alpigena.

DougPaul
06-22-2005, 10:33 AM
Dr_wu002:
Sounds like a species of jumping spider. Jumping spiders have good eysight and catch their prey by jumping on it. They don't need webs.

I don't know for certain, but it is conceivable that they survive the winter in a cold-tolerant non-adult form.

Doug

Jay H
06-22-2005, 10:51 AM
Most jumping spiders are very very small. P. Audax is one of my favorites. I can't gauge the size of HikerBob's photo but I would think that is kind of larger than most jumping spiders I know of.

If Eisenhower's summit cairn is infested with fleas, maybe that old rusted sign I got a picture of says "Beware of fleas" cause it's indistinguishable now. I couldn't figure out what it said in it's heyday.

http://tolweb.org/tree/ToLimages/phidippus.100a.gif

Tell me that isn't the cutest little thing you have ever seen???????

Jay

HikerBob
06-22-2005, 10:58 AM
Jay - I estimated it to be about an inch from leg tip to leg tip front to back. That would make the body maybe ~3/8" long.

Bob

ADK4Life
06-22-2005, 11:01 AM
I am going to shudder every time I stick my hand into a crack in Huntington this weekend.

Tom Rankin
06-22-2005, 11:06 AM
I asked the hut "Nature Expert" when I stayed at Lake of the Crowds last summer, I think she said they were Wolf Spiders.

Lake(s) of the Crowds is right! :eek:

The hut sleeps 99 people or something like that, and it was FULL the night I stayed there (about 8/12/4 or so). They were having a ceremony at the top the next morning to honor the original surviving members of the 10th Mountain Division. Some of the old guys hiked up to the summit! More power to them!

Anyway, I thought the "Nature Expert" was pretty cool. She let me be the "Guest Nature Expert" that night, and I did an astronomy presentation.

Waumbek
06-22-2005, 12:25 PM
I'm interested because I see so many of these things on the Rock Pile but I never see enough bugs that I believe to sustain the spider population. I know they are not vegetarians and they don't eat hikers so what is their food supply? I oftentimes wonder just what lives below all the rocks up there. Any info?
-Dr. Wu

HikerBob's spider picture matches the picture of the wolf spider in Slack and Bell's Field Guide to the New England Alpine Summits. They say that "wolf spiders, common throughout the summer, are busy hunting their prey. Their dark color helps them absorb precious solar heat." So, what's their prey? In Alpine Zones of the Presidential Range, L. C. Bliss notes that Annie Slosson observed insects for several years and reported over 2000 species although many of these get blown up there from lower altitudes and are not natives. Alexander found 95 native species of insects and spiders common to the alpine zone. 61 were beetles, mostly ground beetles. He also found 10 species of spiders. There are butterflies (which pollinate a number of alpine plants), moths, locusts, bees, grasshoppers and flies as well. There's the White Mountain butterfly, the White Mountain fritillary (orange and black butterfly), and the wingless White Mountain locust peculiar to this area.

Papa Bear
06-22-2005, 12:34 PM
Once again the AMC's Field Guide to New England Alpine Summits shows it's value. There on page 90 is the spitting imare of the culprit. They identify it as a Black Wolf Spider, family Lycosidae.

This book is great. It has just a few from each group (plants, rocks, insects, birds, moss, etc.) but it always seems to have what you are looking for. I sure hope it goes back into print.

DougPaul
06-22-2005, 12:46 PM
If Eisenhower's summit cairn is infested with fleas, maybe that old rusted sign I got a picture of says "Beware of fleas" cause it's indistinguishable now.
Last time I passed that cairn (2yrs ago), I was warned by other hikers that it contained a wasp nest. (Or some similar stinging insect.) I chose not to investigate...

Doug

arghman
06-22-2005, 04:33 PM
Once again the AMC's Field Guide to New England Alpine Summits shows it's value. There on page 90 is the spitting imare of the culprit. They identify it as a Black Wolf Spider, family Lycosidae.

This book is great. It has just a few from each group (plants, rocks, insects, birds, moss, etc.) but it always seems to have what you are looking for. I sure hope it goes back into print.<begin soapbox>
Contact AMC and ask for it to be reprinted. I wrote them a letter, never heard back from them. :mad: What am I going to do when my copy wears out? (what are the huts going to do??????)
<end soapbox>

I second (third? fourth?) the wolf spider based on the description (fast & easily spooked).

Sparky
06-22-2005, 06:37 PM
I'm not a spider-man (ha, ha). But it looks like a wolf spider. I think they go after bugs. But I've heard they could have a pretty bad sting for some humans (kind of like a bee sting).

Butch79
06-23-2005, 12:15 AM
My interest in entomology is generally negligible... until I'm in the High Peaks. I always seem to encounter something bizarre and fascinating, and when I get home I can never find find anything quite like it in any number of Field Guides to North American Creepycrawlies that I consult. Anyone have a recommendation on the volume that best IDs insects and spiders native to the Adirondacks?

Happy trails --
Uncle Butch

dms
06-23-2005, 06:37 AM
The Field Guide is fantastic! Clearly it is a wolf spider.

dr_wu002
06-23-2005, 06:48 AM
Thanks everyone for the replies. Black Wolf Spider it is! Now I just have to find myself a copy of the AMC Field Guide to Alpine Summits. Maybe I'll get some pictures of the spiders next time I'm out.

-Dr. Wu

Jay H
06-23-2005, 07:04 AM
Yeah, if they don't get you first.. bwahahahahahaha.

:)

dr_wu002
06-23-2005, 07:50 AM
Yeah, if they don't get you first.. bwahahahahahaha.

:)
:eek: Wait, the books says they don't eat people!

-Dr. Wu

el-bagr
06-23-2005, 08:35 AM
MEB, I wonder if the large (3"+) spider you saw on your dock was a wolf or a fishing spider (http://www.hr-rna.com/RNA/Spider%20pages/Fishing%20spider%20page.htm) (one of several Dolomedes species). They are commonly found on docks in our neck of the woods.

I concur (redundantly) with the alpine spider being a wolf.

MEB
06-23-2005, 08:40 AM
el-bagr I think you are right.....picture number 2 looks like one I was reffering to.

-MEB

Puck
06-23-2005, 08:43 AM
I'm not a spider-man (ha, ha). But it looks like a wolf spider. I think they go after bugs. But I've heard they could have a pretty bad sting for some humans (kind of like a bee sting).

There is a Mediterranean wolf spider that hangs out in the vineyards. Traditionally women did the grape harvest and would get bit by these guys. They would have head aches, become irrascible etc. The cure was dancing hence the Italian folk dance the Tarentula.

(Some worthless knowledge that I finally got to use to justify my tuition payments. :o )

Whiteman
06-23-2005, 09:28 AM
MEB, I wonder if the large (3"+) spider you saw on your dock was a wolf or a fishing spider (http://www.hr-rna.com/RNA/Spider%20pages/Fishing%20spider%20page.htm) (one of several Dolomedes species). They are commonly found on docks in our neck of the woods.



I found myself standing just inches from one of these puppies many years ago at our dock in upstate NY. It was pointed out by my mother, who tried to say my name, but it wasn't coming out -"Da Da Da David" (she doesn't like spiders at all). If it had not scared the crap out of me I would have shown more mercy. That spider has grown much larger in my memory. Years later I watched as a pair gingerly engaged in some mating rituals, but the guy, who was much smaller, begged off before offering completing his end of the bargain (which, as I understand it, is a manual effort in any event). I guess he did not want to become her snack.

dr_wu002
06-23-2005, 09:31 AM
Traditionally women did the grape harvest and would get bit by these guys. They would have head aches, become irrascible etc.
OMG! My apartment must be filled with these spiders! They must be biting my girlfriend constantly! :p

-Dr. Wu

Quack
06-23-2005, 10:20 AM
On top of Little Haystack over the weekend I had about six of those little (approx 3/4") spiders on me within minutes of reaching the top. From the pictures and due to the fact that they were jumping around when I tried to swat them, I'd say the ones I ran into were of the jumping variety. They didn't have the red on their butts though....

Jay H
06-23-2005, 10:55 AM
Quack, the one I posted is just one of many in the genius Phiddipus, so there are many different shapes and varieties.

however, since they rely on jumping rather than webs, they tend to be fairly small, downright tiny.

The experts say you are never more than 3 feet from any spider.

FYI, I have had a couple of tarantulas in my bedroom, currently I have a Chilean Rosehair that I got when it was very very very tiny. I've had various Mexican species too and an arboreal T at one point. They are great hiker pets cause they can go weeks without food so you don't have to worry about feeding them when you're off tromping in Alaska or so.. :) And it might scare other VFTTrs from stealing your gear.

Jay

Quack
06-23-2005, 11:13 AM
FYI, I have had a couple of tarantulas in my bedroom, currently I have a Chilean Rosehair that I got when it was very very very tiny. I've had various Mexican species too and an arboreal T at one point. They are great hiker pets cause they can go weeks without food so you don't have to worry about feeding them when you're off tromping in Alaska or so.. :) And it might scare other VFTTrs from stealing your gear.

Jay

Maybe this is the solution to the car break in problem? Leave a few Chilean Rosehairs on your dashboard while you're off in the woods?

Quietman
06-23-2005, 11:37 AM
Came across this mama spider in Evans Notch last summer.

Orphic Seth
06-23-2005, 02:08 PM
Maybe this is the solution to the car break in problem? Leave a few Chilean Rosehairs on your dashboard while you're off in the woods?

Hahahaha! Great mental picture!

sierra
06-23-2005, 03:10 PM
Once I stopped to take a break just above Liberty springs tent platforms. There was at least 2 ft of snowpack, but it was a very warm spring day. I looked down at the snow and there where hundreds of little black spiders running around, yes I was also coverd in them :eek: I ended up with at least 5 bites and they developed into hard red marks, they hurt even when my shirt rubbed against them.
P.S> dougpaul, I saw a bee's nest on Eisenhower 5 years ago, they seem to love that summitt cairn.

Jay H
06-23-2005, 06:08 PM
The biggest and neatest spiders I've ever seen were on the Kalalau trail in the island of Kauai, don't remember what type but it had like the perfect web. and was very colorful, perhaps an a member of the orb weavers.

BTW, new world tarantulas have a pretty benign bite, as potent as a bee sting. They are generally bigger in mass than most true spiders, hence their bite doesn't need to be that potent. Of course, one could be allergic to them and that is a problem but a bite from a tarantula is more painful due to the mechanics of having a larger fang. But like most woodland creatures, they would much rather run than attack. I've picked up my T many times without ever getting bit. Old world Ts (those from say India or other places in SE Asia) are generally more aggressive and have more potent venon.

Jay