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The definition of the habitat characteristics of spider species is an essential part of arachnid ecology. In this paper the method of developing habitat profiles from histograms of the number of records of occurrence for each habitat category (Hänggi et al., 1995) has been followed. Those authors used published records from a wide range of sources, mainly in central Europe but also elsewhere. This paper argues that clearer and more precise profiles could be obtained by using data from each individual country so that comparisons of habitat preferences can be made between different geographical regions. The abundant data in the Spider Recording Scheme of the British Arachnological Society (Harvey et al., 2002) make this possible for Britain, but it is not known whether the same amount of information is available in other European countries. An investigation of the latitudinal differences in habitat preferences in Britain was made by dividing the country into three regions: South England, North England and Scotland. A 21-category habitat classification was designed to represent the British landscape. Habitat profiles were prepared for several species in each of the three areas. In most cases habitat differences were recorded. Interpretation of these differences and the possible errors which have to be taken into account are discussed.
During a survey of the spider fauna of the Mercantour National Park in the French Alps, several interesting and new taxa were found. One of these new taxa, Tegenaria mercanturensis n. sp. (Agelenidae) is described here. The new species shows distinct morphological characters which allow easy separation from all other Tegenaria or Malthonica species. The most important characters in males are the short, truncated embolus (a character shared with T. domestica, the type species of Tegenaria, and T. mirifica), the broad, curved hammerhead-shaped conductor and the RTA. Distinct characters in females are the atrium with wide spiral copulatory openings anterior to an anchorshaped sclerotised ground plate, the strongly sclerotised and irregularly formed “shield” around the tubular-shaped spermathecae, and the conspicuous anterolateral lentiform areas of the spermathecae, covered only by membrane.
This is the first report of the chemistry of the defensive secretions of harvestmen of the family Phalangodidae. Using gas chromatography/mass spectroscopy and infrared spectroscopy, we identified 2-methyl-5-ethylphenol as the sole methanol-extractable component from specimens of Bishopella laciniosa (Crosby & Bishop) from North Carolina, and from a single specimen of Texella bifurcata (Briggs) from Oregon. This compound has been recorded in Opiliones before as a component of the secretion of the cosmetid species Cynorta astora Goodnight & Goodnight and Eucynortula albipunctata (Pickard-Cambridge), the gonyleptid Pachyloidellus goliath Acosta, and the stygnommatid Stygnomma spinifera (Packard).