Urbanization negatively affects biodiversity by increasing disturbance and habitat fragmentation. We compared three different urban habitats (vacant lots, gardens and forests) to examine differences in spider communities. We selected four sites of each habitat type and sampled spiders with pitfall traps. We collected a total of 547 individuals from 19 families. The most common families were Lycosidae, Corinnidae, Liocranidae, Cybaeidae, and Dictynidae. Spider activity-density overall and for males and females was higher in vacant lots than in forests, and female spiders had greater activity-density in gardens than in forests. Observed species richness did not differ with habitat type. Spider family composition differed significantly between urban habitat types, female morphospecies composition differed in forests and gardens and male morphospecies composition differed in forests and lots. The site characteristics differed significantly with habitat, and these habitat differences explained a large fraction (53.3% to 90.9%) of the variation in composition and richness. Yet, bare ground was the only factor that significantly correlated with declines in female richness. Thus, spider communities, aspects of specifically activity-density and composition, differ between habitats in urban green spaces with potentially important implications for conservation and trophic interactions within urban areas.
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Vol. 41 • No. 3