Misumena vatia “Goldenrod Crab Spider” Thomisidae on
Cymopterus glaucus “Waxy Spring Parsley” Apiaceae

Lolo National Forest, Bitterroot Mountains, MT
May 10, 2015
Robert Niese

Goldenrod Crab Spiders are inordinately abundant in spring blooms all around the PNW. They can be differentiated from their cousins in the genus Misumenoides by the lack of a faint white ridge on their face between their lower eyes and their jaws. But far more interesting than this lurking ambush predator is the fact that this image of Cymopterus glaucus is the first to grace the internet. And all because I thought I was taking a picture of a cool spider. You can see more photos of this plant below. C. glaucus is endemic to Idaho and western Montana where it is locally common on sandy or gravely slopes in dry Ponderosa Pinelands. I’m so confounded by the lack of images of this plant online that I’ll be checking out the UM herbarium later to verify that this is indeed C. glaucus. Any suggestions to the contrary would be much appreciated.

Lomatium dissectum “Fernleaf Biscuitroot” Apiaceae

Blackfoot River Recreation Corridor (BLM), MT
April 23, 2015
Robert Niese

Biscuitroot is famous for its starchy, edible roots. This particular species is the largest in the PNW and has roots that are often utilized in medicinal remedies to treat viral infections and respiratory disorders.

Sphecodes (arvensiformis) “Cuckoo Sweat Bee” Halictidae
on Lomatium “Biscuit Root” Apiaceae

Missoula, MT
May 13, 2014
Robert Niese

Sphecodes bees are cleptoparasitic, cuckoo-like bees that lay their eggs in the nests of other sweat bees.

Heracleum maximum “Common Cow-parsnip” Apiaceae

Olympic National Park, WA
June 1, 2013
Robert Niese

These weedy, roadside plants, named after Hercules because of their impressive size, are Northwest natives and can grow up to 2 meters tall! This shot nicely displays cow-parsnip’s flowers which occur in compound umbells. 

Sphecodes (arvensiformis) “Cuckoo Sweat Bee” Halictidae
on Lomatium “Biscuit Root” Apiaceae

Missoula, MT
May 13, 2014
Robert Niese

Sphecodes bees are cleptoparasitic, cuckoo-like bees that lay their eggs in the nests of other sweat bees.