Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Spider community responds to litter complexity: insights from a small-scale experiment in an exotic pine stand.

Abstract

Conservation of biodiversity in agroecosystems is an urgent need, and a suitable approach to maximize animal biodiversity and their services is the restoration of habitat heterogeneity. Here we investigated the value of increasing litter complexity in tree plantations of exotic pine for ground spiders. We hypothesized that increasing the litter complexity of these systems, as it would be the case in ecologically designed plantations, would increase spider aggregations. We performed a small-scale litter manipulation experiment within an exotic pine stand in the municipality of Minas do Leão, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, and compared spider diversity in simple (only pine needles) and complex substrates (with the addition of diverse native broadleaves). We found 1,110 spiders, 19 families and 32 morphospecies. The most abundant families were Linyphiidae, Theridiidae and Salticidade, and the dominant morphospecies were Thymoites sp. 2 and Lygarina sp. Web-building spiders represented 61% of total spider abundance, and 17 species, while hunting spiders, 49% and 15 species. As expected, densities of spider individuals and species from both web-building and hunting spiders were higher in complex litter substrate. Potential preys (Collembola) also responded positively to the treatment, and had influence of spider community patterns. Our results suggest that ensuring some degree of plant and litter diversity within pine stands (e.g. understory establishment) might foster spider aggregations and possibly help to conserve their diversity at local-scales.