The presence of buds, flowers, and fruits increases structural complexity in plants, but can also attract potential prey for predators, thus determining faunistic composition. To understand how a spider assemblage living in the shrub Byrsonima intermedia (Malpighiaceae) varies with habitat structure in terms of reproductive elements and height of plant, we collected spider specimens and measured bud, flower, fruit, and leaf masses of 44 plants, as well as their height. Spider family composition was found to depend on habitat structure, following a pattern of family turnover occurring along gradients of reproductive plant elements and height, regardless of plant biomass. Theridiidae occurred in samples with the major proportions of buds and flowers, while Oxyopidae occurred only in samples with major proportions of fruits. Multiple linear regression revealed the strong relation between the composition in reproductive plant elements and the composition in families of spiders and a relation between shrub height and spider family composition. These results help us to understand the temporal dynamics between structural complexity of vegetation and spider assemblages, because during plant phenology the proportions of reproductive elements are also varying.
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Vol. 39 • No. 3