Summary for Palliduphantes antroniensis (Araneae)
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About this speciesRecorded altitude range
The species is a northern and sub-alpine species that is apparently established in the Cairngorms, Inverness-shire where it was recorded in the Lairig Ghru in 1979 and 1980 and from Sròn a' Cha-no in 1980. It is also known from the Swiss and Austrian Alps, the Carpathians and Fennoscandia between latitudes 61ºN and 70ºN.
Habitat and ecology
In Scotland, the spider has been found under rocks and among low vegetation consisting mainly of Empetrum, Vaccinium myrtillus, grasses and mosses, at about 900 to 980 m. In the Alps this species occurs in spruce and pine woods, and in Fennoscandia in spruce and birch forests. Despite the absence of trees at Lairig Ghru, the ground vegetation is similar to its Fennoscandian habitat. Sub-alpine birch woods may be worth searching for this species in Scotland. Adults of both sexes have been found from May to September.
Only two males and six females have been found, despite an extensive arachnological survey of the Cairngorms which included over a hundred sites above 600 m. The spider has not been recorded since 1980 showing an apparent decline in the number of locations with records of 100%.
There have been proposals for skiing developments close to the sites where this species was found. Lurcher's Gully was the subject of a public inquiry in 1981 and the proposals were rejected at that time. In the late 1980s there were further proposals for another ski-tow, a café and other means of access, but these may not be permitted now that the structure plan for the area shows a presumption in favour of conservation. The compaction of snow caused by heavy skiing can have severely damaging effects on upland vegetation, which, owing to its slow growth, is unable to recover during the summer months. Snow-fences increase the duration of the snow cover, which causes the vegetation to change from dwarf heath to a Nardus stricta sward. Such a change in the vegetation structure is not likely to be within the tolerance limits of this spider.
Original author of profile: P. Merrett
Text based on Harvey, P.R., Nellist, D.R. & Telfer, M.G. (eds) 2002. Provisional atlas of British spiders (Arachnida, Araneae), Volumes 1 & 2. Huntingdon: Biological Records Centre. References
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