The Spruce—fir Moss Spider (Microhexura montivaga) is a federally endangered species found only in the high-elevation southern Appalachian spruce—fir forests. Little is known about the basic ecology of the spider. The goal of this project was to determine the temperature and humidity parameters of the microhabitat around known spider locations. iButton temperature and humidity data loggers were placed at sites on Mt. Lyn-Lowry, Browning Knob, Whitetop Mountain, and Mt. Rogers (a range that encompasses all metapopulations). No statistically significant (P > 0.05) differences in humidity between positive and negative presence sites, among metapopulations, or individual sites were found. Temperature data showed varied results. This research provides a number of applications for the conservation and management of the Spruce—fir Moss Spider, such as understanding metapopulation variation, better husbandry techniques, and using collected data to determine conversion factors/models for temperature data between microhabitat measurements and larger-scale measuring methods.
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Vol. 15 • No. 1