Zoological Studies

Vol. 61, 2022

(update: 2022.6.29)

Ground-dwelling Spider Communities Respond to Changes in Riparian Vegetation Widths

Mateus Marques Pires1,3,*, Everton Nei Lopes Rodrigues1, Matheus dos Santos Rocha1, José Alessandro Radici Costi1, Gustavo Viegas2, Cristina Stenert1, and Leonardo Maltchik3

1Programa de Pós-graduação em Biologia, Universidade do Vale do Rio dos Sinos – UNISINOS, Campus São Leopoldo, Av. Unisinos, 950, Bairro Cristo Rei, CEP 93.022-750, São Leopoldo (RS), Brazil. *Correspondence: E-mail: marquespiresm@gmail.com (Pires).
E-mail: enlopesrodrigues@gmail.com (Rodrigues); mrocha0602@gmail.com (Rocha); alessandro.radici.costi@gmail.com (Costi); cstenert@unisinos.br (Stenert)
2Programa de Pós-graduação em Ecologia, Instituto de Biociências, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul – UFRGS, Av. Bento Gonçalves 9500, Bairro Agronomia, CEP 90650-001, Porto Alegre (RS), Brazil. E-mail: viegas.g@hotmail.com (Viegas)
3Programa de Pós-graduação em Biologia de Ambientes Aquáticos Continentais, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande – FURG, Av. Itália, Km 8 - Campus Carreiros, CEP 96203-900, Rio Grande (RS), Brazil. E-mail: maltchikleo@gmail.com (Maltchik)

Received 24 June 2020 / Accepted 15 June 2022
Communicated by I-Min Tso

Spiders play a key role in the ecological dynamics in riparian habitats. However, most studies on the effects of changes in riparian habitats on spider communities focused the conversion of riparian forest rather than a gradient of forest widths. We assessed the community structure of ground-dwelling spiders in riparian vegetation fragments with varying widths in Southern Brazil. We selected four fragments with different riparian vegetation widths (> 40 m; < 30 m; < 15 m; < 5 m). In each fragment, spiders were seasonally collected using pitfall traps. We tested the effects of riparian vegetation widths and environmental variables (litter height, litter cover and canopy openness) on the taxonomic and guild composition of spider communities. The taxonomic and guild composition of ground-dwelling spiders varied among the widest (> 40 and < 30 m) and narrower riparian widths (< 15 m and < 5 m). While hunting spiders were associated with the narrower wider widths, web-building spiders were associated with the wider widths. Spider composition was influenced by the leaf litter height in the widest widths (> 40 and < 30 m) and by canopy openness in the narrowest width (< 15 m). Reductions in riparian vegetation were associated with significant changes in the community structure of ground-dwelling spiders, likely through top-down mechanisms associated with the higher litter input in wider fragments. In summary, the fragmentation of the riparian forests of the Sothern Brazil are negatively associated with web-building spiders.

Key words: Atlantic Forest, Edge Effect, Guild Composition, Riparian Forest, Soil Spiders.

Citation: Pires MM, Rodrigues ENL, Rocha MS, Costi JAR, Viegas G, Stenert C, Maltchik L. 2022. Ground-dwelling spider communities respond to changes in riparian vegetation widths. Zool Stud 61:50.