, Volume 62, Issue 3, pp 299-304

Determinants of web spider species diversity: Vegetation structural diversity vs. prey availability

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Summary

The hypotheses that vegetation structural diversity and prey availability determine alpha diversity were examined for scrub- and meadow-inhabiting web spider species assemblages along elevational gradients in Costa Rica and California. Prey availabilities were estimated by sticky trap catches, using only the orders and size classes of insects actually captured by the spiders. The measured component of vegetation structural diversity was the maximum tip height in 20 cm increments from 0 to 2.0 m. Spider species diversity and vegetation tip height diversity were both expressed by the Inverse Simpson Index. Web spider species diversity is highly significantly correlated with vegetation tip height diversity. Prey availability is not a significant predictor of web spider species diversity in these habitats.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, Biological Control of Insects Research Laboratory, Agriculture Research Service, Columbia, MO 65205, USA