Summary for Philodromus albidus (Araneae)
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About this speciesRecorded altitude range
0m to 200m
The species is confined to the southern half of England. It is widespread in western and central Europe, but has not been recorded from Scandinavia or Ireland.
Habitat and ecology
The spider is usually found in broad-leaved or mixed woodland on the lower branches of broad-leaved trees such as oak at the edge of clearings or rides. It is also found in old hedgerows and green lanes. Adults of both sexes have been found from May to July with a peak in June.
Most references in literature suggest that the species is never very numerous (Merrett 1990) or that only single individuals are usually found (e.g. Crocker & Daws 1996), but this has not been the case in Essex where it has been a widespread and often frequent spider since at least the early 1980s. The species has now seemingly been increasing in frequency and turning up in new locations in other parts of England in recent years. The spider is not uncommon on old trees at some sites in southern Oxfordshire (J. Denton pers. comm.) and it has been found in numbers in Huntingdonshire (I. Dawson, pers. comm.). The species formerly known as P. rufus was split into P. rufus and P. albidus (Dondale 1972; Segers 1989). Dondale (1972) states that Pickard-Cambridge (1895) described and figured a male from Britain that matched the real P. rufus. However since P. rufus has not been found since the re-description of P. albidus it has now been deleted from the British checklist (Merrett & Murphy 2000). In western France P. albidus has been collected in high oak forest whereas the closely related P. rufus occurred on young trees and scrub in open habitats. If P. rufus does occur in Britain, it should probably be sought in open warm habitats near the south coast of England.
The majority of records are from trees or bushes at the edge of clearings or in hedgerows. Lack of management resulting in the closure of open woodland and the loss of old hedgerows are almost certainly detrimental to this species. Spray drift from the use of pesticides on crops is likely to affect the survival of this spider, as well as many other invertebrates, where arable fields are adjacent to woodland or hedgerows.
Management and conservation
Management should retain open surroundings by rotational cutting of woodland ride vegetation, periodic control of scrub and tree invasion and light grazing in woodland pasture. The retention of wide field edges and headlands should be encouraged to help maintain a diverse invertebrate fauna and reduce the effects of spray drift on old trees in hedgerows and at the edge of woodland.
Original author of profile: P.R. Harvey
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