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Animal Biodiversity and Conservation. Volume 39.2 (2016) Pages: 221-236

The influence of vegetation structure on spider species richness, diversity and community organization in the Apšuciems calcareous fen, Latvia

Stokmane, M., Spungis, V.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.32800/abc.2016.39.0221

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Abstract

Calcareous fens are considered to be among the most threatened ecosystems of Europe. They are also one of the most diverse habitats as they support an incredibly rich and diverse range of plant and animal species. However, in spite of their diversity, calcareous fens are still poorly investigated, especially when referring to fen invertebrates, such as spiders. Because spiders are good bioindicators, knowledge of their ecology in rare and threatened habitats is of interest. The aim of this study was to document the composition and diversity of spider species, families and foraging guilds in the ground– and grass–layers of the Apšuciems calcareous fen, and to evaluate the influence of vegetation structure on spider community organization. In summer 2012, we collected ground–dwelling spiders using pitfall traps and grass–dwelling spiders using sweep–netting. A total of 2,937 spider individuals belonging to 19 families and 80 species was collected in the Apšuciems fen. Our results indicate that spider species and families tend to be stratified across the vertical structure of the habitat; the spider composition in the ground stratum differed from that in the grass stratum. On the contrary, however, the spider foraging guild structure between the ground–layer and the grass–layer was similar. Each of the two studied strata presented similar guilds in similar proportions. Our results also showed that spider composition differed considerably between fen parts and that much of this variability could be explained by the architectural properties of the habitat. More diverse vegetation generally supported a higher number of spider species.

Keywords

Araneae, Community structure, Vertical stratification, Foraging guilds, Habitat heterogeneity

Cite

Stokmane, M., Spungis, V., 2016. The influence of vegetation structure on spider species richness, diversity and community organization in the Apšuciems calcareous fen, Latvia. Animal Biodiversity and Conservation, 39: 221-236, DOI: https://doi.org/10.32800/abc.2016.39.0221

Reception date:

09/10/2015

Acceptation date:

10/05/2016

Publication date:

27/07/2016

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