Unlike most spiders, which spin webs to capture their prey, Doryonychus raptor hangs upside-down like a bat and spears passing insects mid-flight with its front claws, which resemble those of birds of prey (hence the name).
Rosemary Gillespie, an entomologist at the University of California at Berkeley, has studied these spiders since 1987, but has been unable to observe their unusual feeding behavior outside of a laboratory.
This month, Gillespie and fellow researchers from Berkeley plan to camp in the Hono O Na Pali NAR for about two weeks, and, with any luck, film the spiders feeding at night, when they are active. Gillespie also plans to collect Doryonychus, Argyrodes and Tetragnatha spiders to help determine their distribution and abundance on Kaua`i.
By studying D. raptor, which lives mostly in disturbed lowland forests, Gillespie hopes to determine the extent to which their presence is correlated with habitat disturbance, and whether they are threatened by any alien species.
In June, the Natural Area Reserve System Commission approved a recommendation that her request be forwarded to the Board of Land and Natural Resources, which is expected to approve the permit this month.
Coastal Land Plan: Late last month, the draft state plan for the Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program (CELCP) was scheduled to make its debut to the public. Under the CELCP, federal matching dollars are made available for purchase of lands deemed worthy of conservation in perpetuity. According to Dr. Brian Szuster, principal author of the plan and professor of geography at the University of Hawai`i at Manoa, the document is “about developing the process for identifying and selecting the sites” that are eligible for CELCP funding.
Five Hawai`i gems have already been earmarked for CELCP funds. These projects are Mu`olea and Waihe`e on Maui, Pupukea on O`ahu, Kilauea on Kaua`i, and Honu`apo on the Big Island. They join 36 other sites nationwide that will be or have been purchased with the CELCP’s help. Szuster says that although the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration designed the program to award monies on a competitive basis, the allotment of funds has so far been “congressionally directed.”
Following the comment period, the plan will be revised as necessary and submitted to NOAA for approval. The plan may be viewed at [url=http://www.geography.hawaii.edu/projects/celcp/hawaii_plan.htm]http://www.geography.hawaii.edu/projects/celcp/hawaii_plan.htm[/url] When asked if CELCP funds would be available for future conservation projects, Szuster was uncertain but hopeful.
Volume 17, Number 1 July 2006