Two people with sunglasses, a lot of sunscreen lotion and mosquito protection, rubber boots, a cooling box, camping table, sleeping bags, a tent and a lot of stuff crossing Sweden in a car along the cost. Sounds like a really successful camping and fishing trip. And there is no spider in the car or around. Sounds still like a really good trip to most people.
But if you have a closer look at those guys, they are not happy about that «no-spider-story». And what is all this wired stuff in the car good for?
Yes! Equipped with many plastic boxes to capture and keep things to control the temperature for the spiders (the cooling box was not for beer, sorry!) and all other things we might need when you do fieldwork: Finally we are out here in the field to collect some data and some spiders.
What data again? We are interested in the distribution of two fishing spiders in a north-south gradient, but also in their occurrence related to vegetation structure. Therefore we drive around, visit sites, collect data and hope very much to meet some spiders!
After the last days of stressful preparation, we started yesterday driving towards south. Today was the first and most critical try of our data collection: How long does it take to measure all this? Do we need any more information? Does it take too long to manage the number of sites we have planned for?
And what do we do, if we do not find any spiders?
Typically, the species we want to find (Dolomedes plantarius and Dolomedes fimbriatus) live close to water. And they like aquatic vegetation. There are a few data available about where to find them in Sweden, but the detection is not easy and the available data are not always accurate and recent. It’s a bit of a guess. We just have to run out and try!
To try with all the information, all the eyes and all the nets we have.
And then to detect and catch the spider and bring some of them «home» in the laboratory. Like this we hope to be able to have some interesting (and not too uncertain) results for some (hopefully not too uncertain) Master thesis (and PhD for Jéremy, so please spiders, be nice with us!!) in the end.
Goodbye until then! Wish me good luck and good weather & say hi from me to all the spiders you meet, just in case.