Insects and Spiders

Unless stated otherwise, all photos and text in this Insects & Spiders section were by Don McIntire

The five plant communities in the Reserve support many diverse species of insects, spiders, and other arthropods, but given the small size of most they are easy to overlook. However, observant visitors who check the trails and trail-side vegetation will be rewarded with interesting observations and insights into plant-arthropod relationships.

While a few insects can usually be found even in the winter months, spring and summer are the best times for observing insects and summer and fall the best for seeing two of the Reserve’s common large spiders.

NOTE: All plant and animal life in the Reserve is protected. Please do not collect any insects or other arthropods.

Visitor Center Display

Butterflies are among the most colorful and readily seen insects. Visitors interested in seeing many of those common in the San Diego area will find an excellent display of 61 butterflies in a case on the south wall of the Visitor Center (turn left after entering through the main entrance). This display was prepared by David Marriott, who is director of a monarch butterfly program in Encinitas dedicated to monarch research and preservation.

Visitors interested in the insects and spiders that can be seen by just walking around in the Reserve will find a notes and pictures in a bookcase containing notebooks on Reserve plant and animal life (the Lodge Docent or Reserve staff will point out its location). These notes were prepared by Ron Lyons based on his observations from 1992 through 1998. This gives an indication of the diversity of species here, but it is not meant to be interpreted as a complete survey.

Useful Field Guides

Insects of the Los Angeles Basin by C. L. Hogue, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles Co.,1993.
California Insects by J. Powell and C. Hogue, U. of Calif. Press, 1979.
Spiders and Their Kin by H. Levi and L. Levi, St. Martin’s Press, 1987.

Next topic: Common insects