Spider assemblages in bird burrows
- 21 Downloads
The arachnofauna of bird burrows, which are excavated in the soil, is incompletely understood. The bird burrows have a potential to serve as refugia for cavity-adopting spider species particularly in anthropogenic habitats formed by sand mining, which otherwise suffer from a limited availability of other types of cavities. We hypothesized that the presence of abundant food resources and safe shelter in bird burrows excavated in the soil allow the existence of specialized assemblage of spiders, similarly to those known from cavities and nests made by other birds and mammals. Here we examined 353 burrows that had been previously occupied by Riparia riparia, Merops apiaster or Passer montanus. The burrows were examined in early May and early September in 24 Czech sand pits and construction sites. The burrows hosted a species-rich assemblage of spiders that, however, occurred at low abundances. The spiders were represented prevalently by species known to have distributions centered in anthropogenic and urban habitats, including species that were never observed outside of heated buildings in the study area and species that only were previously known from mammalian burrows and loess and karstic soil crevices. Spider assemblages strongly differed between bird burrows and cavities and nests made by other birds and mammals. The species composition and overall low abundance of spiders in bird burrows was unexpected and was in strong contrast to previous observations of spider assemblages in cavities and nests made by other birds and mammals. Concluded, we rejected the initial hypothesis and, instead, we have shown that bird burrows are rarely occupied by spiders and if occupied, the spider species that adopt old bird burrows and the nests inside of them predominantly consist of species known to have their distribution centered to anthropogenic and urban habitats.
KeywordsAnthropogenic habitats Burrowing birds Cavities Sand pits Subterranean habitats
We thank Ivan Literák for his support of the fieldwork, the landlords and quarry operators for allowing access to the examined habitats, and the nature conservation authorities for allowing access to the protected areas.
This work was supported by the Ministry of Agriculture of the Czech Republic [grant number MZe RO0415]; and the Czech Science Foundation [grant number 17-10976S].
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.
- Conner RN, Saenz D, Rudolph DC (1995) Fauna using nest boxes in four timber types in eastern Texas. Bull Texas Ornithol Soc 28:2–6Google Scholar
- Hedin MC (1997) Molecular phylogenetics at the population/species interface in cave spiders of the southern Appalachians (Araneae: Nesticidae: Nesticus). Mol Biol Evol 14:309–324. https://doi.org/10.1093/oxfordjournals.molbev.a025766 CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
- Krištofík J, Mašán P, Šustek Z, Gajdoš P (1993) Arthropods in the nests of penduline tit (Remiz pendulinus). Biologia 48:493–505Google Scholar
- Krištofík J, Šustek Z, Gajdoš P (1994) Arthropods in nests of the sand martin (Riparia riparia Linnaeus, 1758) in South Slovakia. Biologia 49:683–690Google Scholar
- Kůrka A, Řezáč M, Macek R, Dolanský J (2015) Pavouci České republiky. Academia, PragueGoogle Scholar
- Miller F, Buchar J (1997) Spiders (Chelicerata: Araneae) collected in small mammal nests in the western Carpathians. Acta Soc Zool Bohem 61:373–379Google Scholar
- Naeem M, Compton SG, Shah H (2010) Arthropod communities in different agroforestry landscapes. Pak J Zool 42:233–240Google Scholar
- Nentwig W (2017) Spiders of Europe. http://www.araneae.unibe.ch. Accessed 9 Sept 2017
- Nitzu E, Nae A, Giurginca A, Popa I (2010) Invertebrate communities from the mesovoid shallow substratum of the carpatho-euxinic area: eco-faunistic and zoogeographic analysis. Travaux de l’Institut de Spéleologie Emile Racovitza 49:41–79Google Scholar
- Nováková M, Heneberg P, Heylen DJA, Medvecký M, Muñoz-Leal S, Šmajs D, Literák I (2018) Isolated populations of Ixodes lividus ticks in the Czech Republic and Belgium host genetically homogeneous Rickettsia vini. Ticks Tick Borne Dis. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ttbdis.2017.12.018
- Sklyar VE, Popov EB (1972) Spiders (Aranei) from burrows of rodents in the Azov territory near Donetzk. Zool Zh 51:602–604 (in Russian)Google Scholar
- Svatoň J (1985) Pavúky (Araneida) v hniezdach belorítky obyčajnej (Delichon urbica [L.]) na západnom Slovensku. Zbor Slov Nár Múz. Prír Vedy 31:189–192Google Scholar
- Tryjanowski P, Baraniak E, Bajaczyk R, Gwiazdowicz DJ, Konwerski S, Olszanowski Z, Szymkowiak P (2001) Arthropods in nests of the red-backed shrike (Lanius collurio) in Poland. Belg J Zool 131:69–74Google Scholar
- Vysotskaja SO (1966) Biocoenotic relationships between ectoparasites of rodents and inhabitants of their nests. Parazitol Sb Zool Int AN SSSR 23:19–60 (in Russian)Google Scholar
- Vysotskaja SO (1974) Biocoenotic relationships between ectoparasites of the common red-backed vole, Clethrionomys glareolus Schreb., and inhabitants of its nests in the Transcarpathian region of the Ukraine. Parazitol Sb Zool Inst AN SSSR 26:114–143 (in Russian)Google Scholar
- Vysotskaja SO (1978) Analysis of biocenotic interrelations between ectoparasites and nest-inhabitants of common vole (Microtus arvalis Pall.) in the east-Carpathians. Parazitol Sb Zool Inst AN SSSR 28:73–95 (in Russian)Google Scholar
- World Spider Catalog (2017) The world spider catalog, version 18.5. http://www.wsc.nmbe.ch/. Accessed 9 September 2017