Summary for Leptothrix hardyi (Araneae)
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About this speciesRecorded altitude range
0m to 750m
L. hardyi is widespread on southern heathlands and in western and northern Britain. A Palaearctic species widespread in north-western Europe.
Habitat and ecology
L. hardyi is generally found in wet habitats on moorland and heathland on high ground, but in the south of England it can be abundant on recently-burnt heathland with sparse vegetation cover. It is predominantly a winter active species and is absent in mid-summer (Merrett 1969). Our data show adults of both sexes have been collected in autumn and spring.
The spider is very local and uncommon but may have been overlooked because it is largely winter-active and not easy to find except in pitfall traps. It may be abundant on burnt heathland in Dorset, but was never found by O. Pickard-Cambridge and was not recorded in the county until 1962. It was then found at 29 sites in the 1968/1969 heathland surveys. However, even with a presumption of under-recording, there may have been a long term decline and we have included this species in the 'Watching Brief' category.
Loss of heathland to agriculture and urban development is a potential threat as is lack of open ground conditions.
Management and conservation
Protect heathland from destruction due to agriculture and urban development. Maintain early seral stages on heathland.
Text based on Dawson, I.K., Harvey, P.R., Merrett, P. & Russell-Smith, A.R. (in prep.). References
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