Knowledge of Alabama's Araneae fauna is limited, with estimates ranging from 580 to 1000 species within the state. Until now, the most recent surveys were conducted in the 1940s and focused on 3 families. Studies elsewhere indicate that spider diversity is correlated to habitat and plant diversity. Alabama's diversity of ecoregions and flora should therefore support a highly diverse spider fauna. This study focused on spiders inhabiting a xeric upland and a mesic ravine area in Pike County, AL. The xeric area is a fire-maintained Pinus palustris (Longleaf Pine) plantation dominated by herbaceous vegetation. The ravine is relatively undisturbed and is dominated by hardwoods with little herbaceous growth. We employed a variety of techniques to collect a total of 1224 spiders from October 2015 until May 2016. Mature individuals represented 82 species in 24 families. About 16% of these species are new records for Alabama. Over half of the spiders collected were from the xeric area, and 61.0% of all specimens were male. Abundant prey and a varied understory in the xeric area appears to support a more diverse spider fauna compared to that found in the ravine.
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Vol. 17 • No. 1