Summary for Apostenus fuscus (Araneae)
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About this speciesRecorded altitude range
The first record of this species was from Dungeness, East Kent, in 1981. It was then found in some numbers during a Nature Conservancy Council survey of Dungeness in the late 1980s and recorded on the Ministry of Defence ranges at nearby Denge Marsh in the mid-1990s. It was found in pitfalls on the RSPB reserve at Dungeness in 2000, and more recently has been discovered nearby at Lydd in 2006. This species is at the edge of its range in Britain and possibly is restricted to the Dungeness vicinity by the need for open sun-baked conditions and associated high summer temperatures. It is common and widespread on the continent.
Habitat and ecology
Coastal vegetated shingle. The spider occurs on shingle covered with a thin layer of soil and bearing vegetation composed of mixed grasses, mosses, lichens, spring ephemerals and wood sage Teucrium scorodonia. It is a species of the Arrhenatherum elatius dominated community on shingle, a key invertebrate habitat at Dungeness. Males have been found in May and once in November, females from May to July.
The species has been known from a single extended site since 1981, where it is still to be found. It is potentially threatened by a range of human activities.
Dungeness has been extensively damaged by gravel extraction, causing significant alteration to the hydrology, and thereby ecology of the area. There are currently plans for a new nuclear power station at Dungeness and a large airport expansion. Away from the conservation areas the extension of holiday centres and other recreational activities may lead to damage, notably by motor cycles and other vehicles crossing the shingle, damaging the vegetation and the shingle ridges. However, there is evidence that the shingle communities are capable of regenerating after superficial disturbance, hence low levels of surface disturbance may be biologically sustainable.
Management and conservation
Ensure shingle site where it occurs is protected from futher damage resulting from shingle extraction. A large part of the area is an RSPB reserve and a National Nature Reserve. Climate change may favour this species.
Text based on Dawson, I.K., Harvey, P.R., Merrett, P. & Russell-Smith, A.R. (in prep.). References
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