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1 August 2009 Phenology of Opiliones on an altitudinal gradient on Lefka Ori Mountains, Crete, Greece
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The harvestman fauna was studied along an altitudinal gradient on the southern slope of Lefka Ori Mountains, Crete, Greece for one year. Four sampling areas were defined at 800, 1200, 1600, and 2000 m elevation and they were sampled with pitfall traps that were emptied at monthly intervals. In total, six species were collected: Histricostoma creticum (Roewer 1927), Lacinius insularis Roewer 1923, Graecophalangium cretaeum Martens 1966, Opilio insulae Roewer 1956, Rafalskia cretica (Roewer 1923) and Leiobunum ghigii Di Caporiacco 1929. Species richness was the same (5 spp.) at the three lower zones and then declined to three species at 2000 m. Catches were more than double at this elevation. Differences of phenological patterns were observed among species and among altitudinal zones within the same species. High activity during spring and autumn and a summer recession were characteristic of most taxa. Opiliones did not seem strongly affected by the severe harshness of climatic conditions at higher elevations, as observed in other taxa, indicating a strong physiological tolerance and/or behavioral adaptation in order to withstand environmental stress.

Maria Chatzaki, Petros Lymberakis, Plamen Mitov, and Moysis Mylonas "Phenology of Opiliones on an altitudinal gradient on Lefka Ori Mountains, Crete, Greece," The Journal of Arachnology 37(2), 139-146, (1 August 2009).
Received: 30 May 2007; Published: 1 August 2009

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