HABITATS AND INTERSPECIFIC ASSOCIATIONS OF ZODARIID SPIDERS IN THE NEGEV (ARANEAE: ZODARIIDAE)

In: Israel Journal of Ecology and Evolution

We investigated the habitats and interspecific associations of eight species of zodariid spiders in the Negev Desert of Israel. The spiders were collected for 3 years using pitfall traps at 10 sites in the northern and central Negev Desert as part of a large-scale pitfall-trapping project. Zodariidae were the second most abundant family of spiders (after Gnaphosidae) collected in the pitfall traps. One species, Zodarion nitidum, was the most abundant of all trapped spiders (17.5%). Lachesana blackwalli showed a preference for sand; Trygetus sexoculatus, Lachesana rufiventris, Z. nitidum, and Ranops expers, for rock; and Zodarion judaeorum, for loess. Further, T. sexoculatus showed an affinity to wadi habitats, and Z. judaeorum, Zodarion cyrenaicum, and L. blackwalli, to plateau habitats, whereas Z. nitidum and R. expers occurred mainly on slopes. T. sexoculatus and Z. nitidum tended to occur at northern (low-altitude) sites with higher rainfall. Palaestina eremica, L. blackwalli, and R. expers were more abundant in southern (high-altitude) sites, but with low rainfall. Analysis of the interspecific associations provides a list of spiders of other families that are found in association with zodariid spiders.

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