, Volume 25, Issue 4, pp 621-629
Date: 10 Jan 2010

Effects of urbanization on ground-dwelling spiders in forest patches, in Hungary

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Effects of urbanization on ground-dwelling spiders (Araneae) were studied using pitfall traps along an urban-suburban–rural forest gradient in Debrecen (Hungary). We found that overall spider species richness was significantly higher in the urban sites compared to the suburban and rural ones. The increased diversity was due to the significantly more open-habitat species in the assemblages at the urban sites. This suggests that species from the surrounding matrix (grasslands and arable lands) penetrated the disturbed urban sites. The ratio of forest species was significantly higher in the rural sites than in the suburban and urban ones, suggesting that forest species are indeed sensitive to the disturbance caused by urbanization. Canonical correspondence analysis revealed that the species composition changed remarkably along the urbanization gradient. Open-habitat spiders were associated with the urban sites of higher ground and air temperature. Forest spiders were characteristic of the rural sites with higher amount of decaying woods. Our findings suggest that the overall diversity was not the most appropriate indicator of disturbance; species with different habitat affinity should be analyzed separately to get an ecologically relevant picture of the effect of urbanization.