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A 4-year study of invasive and native spider populations in Maine

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Invasive spiders pose potential threats to native spiders. In 2002, the European spider Linyphia triangularis (Clerck, 1757) (Araneae: Linyphiidae) was discovered in all but one county in Maine. At Acadia National Park, we conducted a 4-year study of L. triangularis and three native linyphiid species of a similar size (Frontinella communis (Hentz, 1850), Pityohyphantes subarcticus Chamberlin and Ivie, 1943, and Neriene radiata (Walckenaer, 1842)). Using line-transect surveys, we measured population densities in coastal and forest habitat. The density of L. triangularis varied across years but was always significantly higher on the coast than in the forest. In contrast, only one native species was present on the coast and at very low numbers. Coastal L. triangularis were larger and in better condition than those in the forest, and numbers and biomass of insect prey were also higher on the coast. In 2 years, we also conducted transects at a second coastal location in Maine where the invader was at low density. At that site, native densities were substantially higher than at either Acadia site. Our data are consistent with the hypothesis that L. triangularis is reducing populations of native spiders. Companion studies suggest that L. triangularis negatively impacts natives by usurping both web sites and webs.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Psychology, Tobin Hall, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA 01003, USA. 2: Department of Plant, Soil and Insect Sciences, Fernald Hall, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA 01003, USA. 3: USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center, Coastal Field Station, Woodward Hall-PLS, University of Rhode Island, Kingston, RI 02881, USA. 4: Graduate Program in Organismic and Evolutionary Biology, Morrill Hall, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA 01003, USA. 5: Graduate Program in Neuroscience and Behavior, Morrill Hall, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA 01003, USA.

Publication date: August 22, 2011

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  • Published since 1929, this monthly journal reports on primary research contributed by respected international scientists in the broad field of zoology, including behaviour, biochemistry and physiology, developmental biology, ecology, genetics, morphology and ultrastructure, parasitology and pathology, and systematics and evolution. It also invites experts to submit review articles on topics of current interest.
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