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Spiders (Arachnida: Araneae) of a wildlife and cattle savanna ranch in South-Western Zimbabwe

Sicelo Sebata, Charles R. Haddad, Moira J. FitzPatrick, Stefan H. Foord
Koedoe | Vol 65, No 1 | a1756 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/koedoe.v65i1.1756 | © 2023 Sicelo Sebata, Charles R. Haddad, Moira J. FitzPatrick, Stefan H. Foord | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 24 January 2023 | Published: 20 December 2023

About the author(s)

Sicelo Sebata, Department of Crop and Soil Sciences, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, Lupane State University, Lupane, Zimbabwe Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, University of Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Charles R. Haddad, Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, University of Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa
Moira J. FitzPatrick, Natural History Museums of Zimbabwe, Bulawayo, Zimbabwe
Stefan H. Foord, NRF-SARChI Chair in Biodiversity Value and Change, University of Venda, Thohoyandou, South Africa

Abstract

In order to contribute to spider diversity distribution records within Zimbabwe, spiders were sampled at a mixed wildlife and cattle ranch using pitfall traps and sweep-netting. Sampling was conducted from June 2017 to April 2018. A total of 2328 spiders representing 25 families, 94 genera, and 166 species were recorded. The most species-rich families were Salticidae (33 spp.), followed by the Gnaphosidae (28 spp.) and Lycosidae (20 spp.), while eight families were represented by a single species. Pitfall traps accounted for 1857 individuals overall, with the ground-dwelling fauna dominated by Stenaelurillus guttiger (37.86% of the total abundance). Sweep-nets accounted for 471 individuals overall, with the grass-dwelling fauna dominated by Thyene thyenioides (15.29% of the total abundance). The most abundant functional group was the free-living ground-dwellers (n = 1809, 77.71%), followed by free-living plant-dwellers (n = 266, 11.43%) and orb-web builders (n = 186, 7.98%). The current study contributes to the knowledge of a megadiverse group of predatory arthropods in the region.

Conservation implications: Sampling and monitoring of rangelands is essential, as the former aids in the identification of new species not previously recorded, as well as increasing knowledge on the distribution of spider species, which if not adequately conserved could face significant threats to their survival even before their documentation.


Keywords

conservation planning; invertebrates; monitoring; rangelands; spider biodiversity; surveys

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