Epigeal spider occurrence, abundance and diversity in moist acidic and dry heath tundra at Toolik Lake, Alaska

  • Karl A. Wyant (Contributor)
  • John C. Moore (Contributor)
  • Michael L. Draney (Contributor)



Abstract: For the 2004-2006 growing seasons, we trapped a total of 6980 spiders (5066 adults, 1914 immatures) using pitfall traps at the Arctic Long Term Experimental Research (LTER) site in Toolik Lake, Alaska. We found 10 families and 51 putative species, with 45 completely identified, in two distinct habitats: Moist Acidic Tundra (MAT) and Dry Heath (DH) Tundra. We captured spiders belonging to the following families (number of species captured): Araneidae (1), Clubionidae (1), Dictynidae (1), Gnaphosidae (4), Linyphiidae (26), Lycosidae (11), Philodromidae (2), Salticidae (1), Theridiidae (1), and Thomisidae (3). Statistical comparisons of families captured at MAT and DH Tundra indicate that the habitats have significantly different spider communities (Chi Square Test: p < 0.0001, and Fisher's Exact Test: p = 0.0018). This finding is further supported by differences in similarity, diversity, evenness, and species richness between the two habitats. In this report, we present eight new state records and five extensions of previously described ranges for spider species. The following species are new state records for Alaska: Emblyna borealis (O.P.-Cambridge 1877), Horcotes strandi (Sytschevskaja 1935), Mecynargus monticola (Holm 1943), Mecynargus tungusicus (Eskov 1981), Metopobactrus prominulus (O.P. -Cambridge 1872), Poeciloneta theridiformis Emerton 1911, and Poeciloneta vakkhanka (Tanasevitch 1989). The following five species have been reported previously in Alaska, but not near Toolik Lake: Hypsosinga groenlandica Simon 1889, Gnaphosa borea Kulczyn'ski 1908, Gnaphosa microps Holm 1939, Haplodrassus hiemalis (Emerton 1909), and Islandiana cristata Eskov 1987. Pairwise similarity indices were calculated across 13 other arctic and subarctic spider communities and statistical tests show that all sites are dissimilar (p = 0.25). These results fit the general pattern of both the patchiness and habitat specificity of arctic spider fauna.

Category: geoscientificInformation

Source: Supplement to: Wyant, Karl A; Draney, Michael L; Moore, John C (2011): Epigeal Spider (Araneae) Communities in Moist Acidic and Dry Heath Tundra at Toolik Lake, Alaska. Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research, 43(2), 301-312, https://doi.org/10.1657/1938-4246-43.2.301

Supplemental Information: Data extracted in the frame of a joint ICSTI/PANGAEA IPY effort, see http://doi.pangaea.de/10.1594/PANGAEA.150150

Coverage: EVENT LABEL: LTER_ToolikL * LATITUDE: 68.627000 * LONGITUDE: -149.590000 * ELEVATION: 760.0 m * LOCATION: Toolik Lake, Alaska * METHOD/DEVICE: Multiple investigations
Date made availableFeb 9 2011

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