Summary for Steatoda albomaculata (Araneae)
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About this speciesRecorded altitude range
3m to 75m
S. albomaculata has been recorded only from central-southern England and East Anglia, where it is widespread on the heaths of Dorset, the New Forest, Surrey and Breckland. It occurs throughout Europe but is more abundant in the south.
Habitat and ecology
The main habitat for this species is dry heathland, where it is found on sparsely vegetated, stony ground. It is also associated with burnt areas on heathland, reaching maximum densities at between two and four years after the fire then declining for approximately eight years after which it is absent. It has also been found on shingle ridges in Norfolk. S. albomaculata spins a small web between low stems of Ulex minor, around grass tussocks or between large stones and the ground. Beetles and ants are its main prey. Adults can be found from April to October with a peak between May and June and another between August and September.
A local species in southern England which has apparently declined significantly in the past 30 years. Paradoxically, it could have declined as a result of improved control of heathland fires, as it is very dependent on bare ground.
The loss of heathland to agriculture and forestry.
Management and conservation
Protect heathlands from conversion to other land uses. Maintain all age classes of heather by rotational burning.
Text based on Dawson, I.K., Harvey, P.R., Merrett, P. & Russell-Smith, A.R. (in prep.). References