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Smokey Bear lets visitors know the fire danger is very high in this file photo from Fishlake National Forest in Utah. (U.S. Forest Service)

WASHINGTON, April 23, 2014 - As part of America’s PrepareAthon!, USDA will host a wildfire themed twitter chat in anticipation of another severe wildfire season in 2014. Drought conditions in the west, especially in California, combine with other factors to portend a dangerous fire season that now could start at any time. 

The Fort Pierre National Grassland is home to a series of spiders previously unknown.  A new species, Theridion pierre (Levi & Patrick 2013) is part of the cobweb family of spiders, Theridiidae, the fifth largest family of spiders which boasts 2387 currently recognized species (Platnick 2014).  This 1 millimeter spider – about the size of a lead pencil point – is relatively abundant and easily caught on the grasslands. (Photo courtesy of Patrick Brian)

When a new species is discovered on the planet, people usually imagine a discovery process that is dangerous and remote in location. However, one scientist didn’t have to venture far from home to learn about a few new discoveries that has the science community spinning about a native grassland ecosystem in South Dakota.

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The U.S. Forest Service, under the leadership of Chief Tom Tidwell, is entrusted with 193 million acres of national forests and grasslands. We are dedicated to the improvement of water resources, development of climate change resiliency, creation of jobs that will sustain communities and restoration and enhancement of landscapes.

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Last modified April 24, 2014

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