Summary for Rugathodes bellicosus (Araneae)
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About this speciesRecorded altitude range
2m to 600m
R. bellicosus is restricted to North Wales, the north of England and Scotland. It is widespread on mountains in northern and central Europe (Merrett 1990).
Habitat and ecology
This tiny spider lives amongst boulders, where flimsy criss-cross threads are spun across large cavities between rocks (Roberts 1995). The habitat includes scree slopes on mountains, boulders on the coast and by inland lakes and also man-made rock piles, e.g. spoil from limestone quarrying. Females may be readily identified by the relatively large white egg-sac carried on the spinners. Both sexes are adult in May and early June, females until autumn.
The species is locally abundant within suitable habitat. It has shown an apparent 50% decline in occupied 10 km squares over a 20 year period but may be under-recorded because of the difficulties of exploring the habitat.
There is possibly a threat from the tidying up of old quarry sites. Although it appears to have declined, this may in part be due to under-recording in its specialised micro-habitat.
Management and conservation
Protect abandoned quarries from inappropriate development.
Text based on Dawson, I.K., Harvey, P.R., Merrett, P. & Russell-Smith, A.R. (in prep.). References
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