Summary for Walckenaeria mitrata (Araneae)
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About this speciesRecorded altitude range
This species has been recorded in Britain only from Blean Woods NNR, East Kent, where it was first taken in 1967. In Europe it appears to be widespread but infrequent with records from France, Belgium, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Poland, Sweden, Finland and Russia.
Habitat and ecology
The only British sites for W. mitrata are an area of coppiced sweet chestnut and beech woodland that had not been cut for at least 30 years and a second area of coppiced chestnut which had been cut five years earlier. Both sexes were collected in pitfall traps in April 1967 and a further female in November of that year in mixed chestnut and beech litter overlying a raw humus layer on London clay. A further female was collected by hand at the same site in December 1971. Two males and one female were taken in an area of 5 year old coppiced chestnut in May 2004. In Europe it has been collected from a range of different woodland types, often on moderately wet soils.
Fewer than ten specimens have been recorded from two sites in Blean Woods NNR. Three males and two females were taken from litter in an area of over-mature coppice chestnut in 1967, one female in 1971 and two males and a female from litter of a 5-year-old chestnut coppice in 2004.
There has been a large decline in the area of coppiced chestnut woodland in south-east England over the past 60 years. The British site is in a National Nature Reserve and there are several other protected sites in the Blean Woods complex to the north of Canterbury in which this species might also occur. However with such an apparently small population and restricted occupancy, the species must be prone to the effects of human activities and stochastic events.
Management and conservation
Coppicing of chestnut is maintained at several sites in the Blean woods complex although this may not be essential for the conservation of the species.
Text based on Dawson, I.K., Harvey, P.R., Merrett, P. & Russell-Smith, A.R. (in prep.). References
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