Habitat ranges of ground-dwelling spiders were studied by pitfall trapping in and around a freshwater pond during the spring and summer of 1998 in central Alberta, Canada. Sixty species from 14 families were collected, and catches of several species suggested distinct habitat affinities along transects between the pond and adjacent terrestrial habitats. Variation in the catches of Pirata piraticus (Clerck 1757), Pardosa moesta Banks 1892, Pardosa fuscula (Thorell 1875), and immature Pirata species were partially explained by soil moisture at trap locations extending from the shore. We devised a “floating” pitfall trap that captured several species, including mature and immature Dolomedes triton (Walckenaer 1837), Pirata piraticus, and other immature Lycosidae, directly on the water surface. A DCA ordination revealed distinct spider assemblages were associated with three habitat types: 1) the water surface; 2) the moist habitats closely associated with the water's edge; and 3) the drier, terrestrial grassland habitats located >2 m from the shore. A new, more inclusive definition of semi-aquatic spiders was developed, based on knowledge about both male and female activity near the shore, and affinities towards soil moisture. Thus, Pirata piraticus, Dolomedes triton, and Pardosa fuscula were defined as semi-aquatic spiders.
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