Summary for Mecynargus paetulus (Araneae)
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About this speciesRecorded altitude range
928m to 1214m
The species has been recorded from Ben Lawers, Mid Perthshire, first in 1965 and on several subsequent occasions; from the Braeriach and Cairngorm-Ben Macdui plateaux, Inverness-shire, in 1981; from Creag Meagaidh, West Inverness-shire, in 1983; from Glas Leathad Mor, East Ross, in 1992; and from Glas Maol, Angus, on several occasions between 1988 and 2004. An arctic-alpine species also known from France, the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Sweden, Norway and Finland.
Habitat and ecology
M. paetulus has been found under stones above 850 m and in Nardus stricta snow-bed grassland on Creag Meagaidh. It may be associated with mat vegetation. Adults of both sexes have been found in May, June, August and September.
The spider is apparently well-established on Ben Lawers and in the Cairngorms, but is very local and records have been restricted to three locations since 1992. Area of occupancy shows an apparent decline from five hectads prior to 1992 to just three hectads since that date. The habitat may be under-recorded.
Additional skiing developments, with plans to increase numbers of skiers in the existing skiing areas as well as opening up new slopes, periodically threaten the fragile high-altitude vegetation of the Cairngorms region. Hill-walking could threaten this species, its habitat being on the top of the Cairngorm plateau where the effects of trampling are quite severe.
Management and conservation
Prevent the loss of habitat to development and damage from skiing and trampling.
Text based on Dawson, I.K., Harvey, P.R., Merrett, P. & Russell-Smith, A.R. (in prep.). References
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