Lyubechanskii I.I. 2012. Spider community structure in the natural and disturbed habitats of the West Siberian northern taiga: comparison with Carabidae community // Russian Entomol. J. Vol.21. No.2: 147–155 [in English].

Institute of Systematics and Ecology of Animals, Frunze str., 11, Novosibirsk 630091, Russia. E-mail:

KEY WORDS: spiders, Aranei, northern taiga, successions, sandpits, forest fires, Carabidae, community structure.

ABSTRACT. The structure of spider community (Arachnida: Aranei) was studied in the main types of natural (forests and bogs) and anthropogenically disturbed habitats (burned places and abandoned sand pits of different age) of West Siberian north taiga (vicinity of Noyabrsk city, 63°N, 74°E). Spider diversity and abundance were compared with the diversity and abundance of other epigeic predators: ground beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae).

During 4 years of investigation (1999–2002), 58 spider species from 11 families were found. Contrary to carabids, spiders were most abundant and diverse in natural ecosystems. The main factor determining the spider community organization in the North Siberian taiga is the human disturbance of ecosystems: araneocenoses were much more similar among undisturbed habitats (regardless of the development of the forest cover or hydrological regime) than among different types of disturbed habitats. The abundance of two dominating spider families (Lycosidae and Gnaphosidae) was several times lower in anthropogenically altered sites than in undisturbed habitats. The occasional component of the epigeic spider community (species inhabiting grass and forest stand) was equally abundant in natural and disturbed types of ecosystems.

Both in spider and carabid communities, the formation of the typical zonal taxocenes after disturbance occurred very slowly. However, carabid communities of intermediate successional stages are forming faster than those of spiders, and have higher biological diversity than in climax ecosystems. In climax ecosystems, the density and species richness of spiders are considerably higher than those of carabids. These patterns can be explained by different preferences of spiders and carabids toward particular types of biotopes, and by competitive interactions among two dominating groups of predatory arthropods.

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