Summary for Pelecopsis radicicola (Araneae)
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About this speciesRecorded altitude range
In Britain, the species has been recorded from the South Downs near Heyshott, West Sussex; in the Mendips at Rodney Stoke NNR, North Somerset; Nupend Wood SSSI, Fownhope and Pentaloe Glen, Haugh Wood in Herefordshire; Fontmell Down, Dorset; Staverton Park, East Suffolk. The species is widespread in north-western and central Europe.
Habitat and ecology
Most British records are from among grass roots in chalk or limestone grassland, but it has also been found in a glade of grass and bracken in Staverton Park, which lies on a base-poor sandy soil. Adults of both sexes are found between June and October.
The spider was found in numbers at each of its sites except Rodney Stoke. It has not been recorded in West Sussex since 1952, Fontmell Down since 1979 or Staverton Park since 1972. It has been collected from just two locations since 1992, an apparent decline of 33% since before that date.
The loss of semi-natural dry grassland to intensive farming, either arable or livestock, will have contributed to a decline in the habitat available for this species. Conversely, the neglect of suitable habitat and the decline in rabbit-grazing, with ensuing invasion by scrub or bracken, is also likely to have been damaging.
Management and conservation
Control scrub invasion on sites where it is known to occur.
Text based on Dawson, I.K., Harvey, P.R., Merrett, P. & Russell-Smith, A.R. (in prep.). References
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