Summary 1 The composition of pome fruit orchard inhabiting spider assemblages was investigated at different geographical scales (Holarctic, European, inter- and intraregional levels within Hungary) using previous faunistic studies and data collected in Hungary between 1995 and 1997. Samples in Hungary were taken from the canopy and herb layer of apple and pear orchards in five markedly different fruit-growing regions by beating and sweep-netting methods. 2 The composition of canopy spider assemblages of apple orchards was analysed for the Holartic region and found to be determined by latitude at family level, and by the main zoogoegraphical regions at genus level. At the European scale, both the genus and species composition changed along a north–south gradient. 3 A comparison among apple and pear orchards located in different regions in Hungary, showed that both foliage- and grass-dwelling spider assemblages varied considerably in species composition and dominance order. 4 Within the same region, both the foliage- and grass-dwelling spider assemblages showed moderate differences in apple and pear orchards submitted to different treatments. Although the assemblages of spiders inhabiting the canopy and the herbaceous layer can be unambiguously distinguished, some overlap still occurs. 5 We conclude that the composition of spider assemblages is basically determined by geographical location. Although both pesticide treatments and available prey densities can influence the population of spiders, such factors are of moderate importance when compared with the effect of regionality, even when considered at smaller scale. However, most members of the family Theridiidae and the large orb-weavers (Araneidae) decreased considerably in treated plots. Scale-specific differences are thus relevant in determining the composition of prey–predator systems in orchards, and should be taken into account when designing integrated pest management (IPM) programs for apple and pear orchards.
University of Horticulture and Food Industry, Department of Entomology, H-1502 Budapest, P O Box 53, Hungary, 2:
Berzsenyi Dániel Teachers College, Department of Zoology, Szombathely, Hungary