Mass spring recolonization of agroecosystems by the spider Oedothorax apicatus (Linyphiidae: Erigoninae)
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One of the main properties of spiders increasing their pest regulation potencial is their use of passive dispersal, employing wind and silk fibers. This behaviour is crucial for the spidersʼ usefulness as pest control agent in agroecosystems as their fauna is regularly decimated by agricultural disturbances such as ploughing, cutting or application of pesticides and thus has to be regularly restored by recolonisation. In early spring we witnessed the mass dispersal of the linyphiid spider Oedothorax apicatus (Blackwall, 1850) in the central European agricultural landscape. During the first sunny days of 2017 we observed horizontally oriented “sheet webs” continuously covering grassland vegetation on circa 3000 m2 area. We estimated over three million O. apicatus individuals were present in the study area. The observed sheet webs were probably an accumulation of O. apicatus draglines. The majority of collected spiders tended to disperse in laboratory conditions. Most of those performed “tip-toeing” behaviour that precedes ballooning, the rest performed dropping on dragline that precedes rapelling dispersal.
KeywordsBallooning Dragline Dispersal Rapelling
We thank Petr Kocián and Tomáš Krejčí who drew our attention to the described phenomenon. Petr Kocián provided photos and collected the material for the analysis. Further we thank Martin Schmidt-Entling and Dries Bonte for scientific suggestions, and Michelle Strickland (University of Nottingham, UK) for linguistic corrections of the manuscript.
This study was funded by the Czech Science Foundation (grant number 17-10976S) and by the Ministry of Agriculture of the Czech Republic (grant number RO0418). VŘ was supported by the long-term development programRVO61388971.
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
All applicable international, national, and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed.
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