The latitudinal diversity gradient predicts higher species richness at lower latitudes. Here, we utilize the data from a long-term monitoring with malaise traps to analyse if spider communities in Sweden are affected by geographic gradients and if these effects hold independent of forest type. The species richness and the effective number of species in spider communities were not significantly related to the latitudinal gradient. The effective number of species and the taxonomic distinctness of spider communities were related to longitude, with a higher number, but fewer related species in western parts of Sweden. The species and family composition were significantly related to latitude independent of forest type, with a dominance of Linyphiidae individuals and species in the north. Our study demonstrates the suitability of malaise trap sampling to contribute to a better understanding of local spider communities, as several rare and locally new species were recorded in this study.
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Vol. 53 • No. 3–4