Zoological Studies

Vol. 49 No. 2, 2010

Resource Partitioning among Five Agrobiont Spiders of a Rice Ecosystem

Abida Butt1 and Hafiz Muhammad Tahir2,*

1Department of Zoology, University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan
2Department of Biological Sciences, University of Sargodha, Punjab, Pakistan

Abida Butt and Hafiz Muhammad Tahir (2010) The present study was conducted to investigate possible factors responsible for the coexistence of 3 hunting spiders (Lycosa terrestris, Pardosa birmanica, and Oxyopes javanus) and 2 orb web spiders (Tetragnatha javana and Neoscona theisi) in a rice ecosystem of central Punjab, Pakistan.  For this purpose 2 plots (each of 400 m2) were selected in a monoculture area of Sheikupura District, Punjab, Pakistan.  The active density of spiders during the study period was recorded by pitfall trap and a suction device.  Data showed that the active density of all spider species significantly differed among different trapping sessions.  Members of both guilds fed on the same prey orders but in different proportions.  Their reproductive period, abundances of young and adults, and prey size also differed.  A positive correlation was found between the carapace width of a spider and prey it took.  Values of resource overlap indicated that species of a guild were utilizing time, habitat, prey size, and prey taxa differently.  A discriminant function analysis also clearly separated the 5 species in the 3 dimensional space.  It was concluded that separation of guild members in time, microhabitat, and prey niche dimensions reduced competition, thus allowing coexistence.

Key words: Niche overlap, Competition, Resource overlap.

*Correspondence: E-mail:hafiztahirpk1@yahoo.com