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1 April 2007 THE USE OF TREE-MOUNTED ARTIFICIAL SHELTERS TO INVESTIGATE ARBOREAL SPIDER COMMUNITIES IN NEW ZEALAND NATURE RESERVES
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Abstract

Spiders have been advocated as valuable bio-indicators of forest ecosystem “health.” However, the numbers and types of spiders that are recorded at a site will usually be highly dependent on the sampling method employed. The use of lethal, indiscriminate invertebrate sampling techniques is undesirable when investigating rare species, or sampling within areas of high conservation status. Therefore we used non-lethal artificial tree-mounted shelters to monitor arboreal spiders in nature reserves near Christchurch, New Zealand. After three months, over 60% of the shelters had been used by spiders, increasing to 91% after twelve months. There were significant differences in the numbers of spiders found in the shelters at the different sites. However, factors such as the species of tree the shelter was attached to, ground vegetation, and levels of incident light did not affect the likelihood of a shelter being occupied. The species composition of the spider faunas in those sites regarded as high quality forest remnants was dissimilar to the faunas found in the low quality reserves. However, although spiders were more abundant in the high quality sites compared with the poorest stands of woodland, they were not more species rich. The shelters are inexpensive and easy to manufacture and are useful for long-term non-lethal monitoring of spider communities. They also have good potential as a tool for studying spider phenology, population dynamics, behavior, and as a collection/carriage device for live specimens used in conservation translocations.

Simon Hodge, Cor J. Vink, Jonathan C. Banks, and Mike H. Bowie "THE USE OF TREE-MOUNTED ARTIFICIAL SHELTERS TO INVESTIGATE ARBOREAL SPIDER COMMUNITIES IN NEW ZEALAND NATURE RESERVES," The Journal of Arachnology 35(1), (1 April 2007). https://doi.org/10.1636/ST-06-19.1
Received: 24 April 2006; Published: 1 April 2007
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