Document Type

Article (Online ahead of print)




Although the United States supports a considerable diversity of spiders, some aspects of spider habitat use and niche specialization are poorly documented. Specifically, little attention has been given to explore how urban development affects the diversity and abundance of arthropods. We sampled spiders along an outdoor – indoor habitat gradient at Longwood University to understand the impact of urbanization on species diversity and abundance. We found 50 taxa of spiders belonging to 43 genera and 16 families. Overall, the most abundant spider family across three sampling sites was Araneidae (orb-weavers; 18.2%) followed by Lycosidae (wolf spiders; 14.8%), Salticidae (jumping spiders; 13.6%) and Linyphiidae (sheetweb spiders; 12.5%). We found the highest species richness, spider abundance, and Shannon-Wiener diversity from Lancer Park (i.e. outdoors habitat), followed by the habitats associated with outside of the science center building (i.e. marginal habitat) and the lowest spider diversity inside the science building (i.e. indoors habitat). We also found a strong positive correlation between overall spider diversity and air temperature for outdoors and marginal habitats, but no correlation with relative humidity. Our study adds original knowledge about habitat use of spiders along an outdoor - indoor habitat gradient and arthropod use of indoor biome. More importantly, our study stresses the need for more extensive systematic studies to fully understand how spatial and temporal variation of arthropod diversity and abundance may be influenced by alterations of habitats by humans through urbanization.