Spider field collections often consist of a high percentage of immature specimens that are not identifiable to species; in many studies these juveniles are discarded and not used in analyses. To evaluate if this practice affects the results of a community study, we sampled foliage-dwelling spiders in two habitats, reared the collected immature spiders until maturity, and identified them to species. We tested if measurements of species richness, evenness, and assemblage composition changed with the exclusion of data from immature specimens by analyzing two datasets: one including mature spiders only, the other including both mature and immature spiders (complete dataset). Nine of the total 49 spider species were collected only as juveniles, but only one of these nine species, Philodromus praelustris Keyserling 1880, was common (≥ 10% of collection). The distribution of individuals among species was more even in the complete dataset than the mature-only dataset, which could either indicate differences in composition or reflect sampling effort. However, species richness estimates were similar regardless of dataset, and there were only small changes in species composition of the samples between datasets, suggesting that there were not important compositional differences between the samples in each dataset. The inclusion of immature spiders in the data in this study yielded the same results that would occur with increased sampling effort.
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