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1 August 2009 Estimating biomass of Neotropical spiders and other arachnids (Araneae, Opiliones, Pseudoscorpiones, Ricinulei) by mass-length regressions
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Abstract

We sampled 505 specimens of 7 arachnid orders (313 Araneae, 65 Opiliones, 111 Pseudoscorpiones, 10 Ricinulei, 3 Schizomida, 1 Thelyphonida, 2 Scorpiones) in natural forest and agroforestry sites in central Amazonia to analyze fresh and dry mass to body length relations. The low number of schizomids, scorpions, and thelyphonids did not allow statistical analyses, but the raw data are given, because these represent the first data published for these groups from Amazonia. For all other orders general mass-length relationships for ecological studies were determined. Non-linear regressions with a power model proved to describe the relations very well and are highly significant for all taxa and groups analyzed. The resulting equations can thus be used to estimate biomass of large samples of arachnids from Amazonia based on individual body length measurements. Linear regressions of mass to length with log-transformed data also described the relation adequately, but using the resulting equations to estimate biomass of the whole spider sample caused a higher bias. This is because small biases of mass-length relation of the largest spider individuals are exponentiated. However, linear regressions behaved better for spiders smaller than 8 mm. The ratio of dry to fresh mass was around 0.3 for spiders; 0.4 for pseudoscorpions, schizomids, and thelyphonids; 0.44 for opilionids; and 0.53 for Ricinulei. A second sample of 99 spiders from a South Brazilian Atlantic Forest revealed similar mass-length relations, but a different dry to fresh mass ratio. For spiders, the usefulness of general equations to determine the biomass of bulk samples from ecological studies with certain precision requirements was further explored by using the equations from the two datasets crosswise, regarding the resulting bias and by applying equations to a further dataset from an ecological investigation. In conclusion and accordance to former studies, general equations derived from mass-length regressions of bulk samples including many specimens of different families and guilds are appropriate for an estimation of the biomass of bulk samples from ecological studies. Equations from mass-length regressions from the literature, resulting from spider samples in temperate regions, should not be used to estimate biomass of samples from neotropical spider assemblages, especially when absolute biomass is of interest and when precision is required. They underestimate biomass of tropical assemblages due to a strong bias in mass-length relation of tropical spiders larger than 10 mm. Depending on the distribution of large spiders in samples, considerable biases in single samples could affect ecological analyses.

Hubert Höfer and Ricardo Ott "Estimating biomass of Neotropical spiders and other arachnids (Araneae, Opiliones, Pseudoscorpiones, Ricinulei) by mass-length regressions," The Journal of Arachnology 37(2), 160-169, (1 August 2009). https://doi.org/10.1636/T08-21.1
Received: 25 February 2008; Published: 1 August 2009
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