On Saturday night, our matrician, Stephanie Loria, led us on a wondrous journey up the slopes of Mount Beacon. We trekked up the rocky trail at a steady pace, all the while taking in the peaceful atmosphere and appreciating the beautiful vegetation around us such as the yellow goldenrod (Solidago sp.) and pink Pennsylvania smartweed flowers (Persicaria penslvanica) and the towering red maple (Acer rubrum) and black walnut (Juglens nigra) trees. We also encountered some vertebrates along the way including a lone deer and a red spotted newt (Notophthalmus viridescens). After having ascended 400 m, we were greeted by a spectacular sunset and an awesome sight of the rainstorm occurring further south of us. As we waited for nightfall, Stephanie shared with us her personal collection of spiders from North and South Carolina.
The trek back to our starting point was of a completely different nature. As darkness approached, arthropods and mollusks crawled out of the natural woodwork. The floor beneath us was abound with harvestmen and florescent millipedes (Narceus sp.). We also came across fishing spiders (Psiuridae), crickets (Families Rhaphidophoridae and Gryllidae), glowworms (Phengodes sp.), an enormous leopard slug (Limax maximus), a carrion beetle (Necrophila sp.), and a ground beetle (Family Carabidae). We had multiple sightings of intricate spider webs and even had the opportunity to see one being constructed while Stephanie described the process to us.
After reaching our starting point, members of the society returned to their own nightlife with a newfound appreciation for the creatures of the dark.
A special thank you to Maurice Chen and Brian Levine for some great photos. Visit our gallery section for more images from this event!