City Creek Nature Notes – Salt Lake City

November 16, 2016

November 16th

Filed under: Golden Huntsman spider, Insects, Thin-legged Wolf spider, Weather — canopus56 @ 6:53 pm

Hot and Cold

Supplement to November 15, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. The low angle sunlight begins to penetrate to the road along the first mile of the canyon with high surrounding ridges. The shaded portions of the road retain the deep cold of the night, and the Sun’s shafts reaching the road underscores the importance of light for warmth. Between the lighted and shaded portion of the road there is about a twenty-five degree difference. Within any one-hundred yards, this can happen five or six times, and the result is similar to climbing out of a hot tub and into a cold pool.

At mile 2.0, roadside trees glisten with spider silk threads. Today, I run down-canyon through the meadow at mile 1.2, that has been cropped by the Utah Conservation Corps, and down the pipeline trail. In the sun-drenched meadow, there are two Thin-legged Wolf spiders (Pardosa species) patrolling their territories. These small black spiders are always on the move, seeking prey within their territory. Because this part of the meadow has been mowed, they now can seen, unlike in summer’s tall grass. On the trail, there is a Golden Huntsman spider, also known as the Giant Crab spider (Olios fasiculatus). The grey Huntsman moves slow and deliberately. Unlike other spiders, when I place my foot near, it does not frighten and run the other way. The Huntsman turns toward the foot and moves forward looking for its edge.

Today, November 16th, at 3:30 p.m., a cold front has come through, and for most of the day, the sky is overcast. In the afternoon, the sky partially clears, but the Sun’s rays are weakened. There is not the same difference in temperature between the sunlight and shaded parts of the canyon road compared to yesterday.

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