Summary for Wiehlea calcarifera (Araneae)
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About this speciesRecorded altitude range
3m to 80m
The species has been recorded from a few localities in southern England, with most records from a fairly small area in central-southern England. It is likely to be restricted by its need for coarse well-drained soil, and by climatic factors. In Europe it is known from France, Belgium and Germany.
Habitat and ecology
W. calcarifera occurs in the top layers of coarse sandy soil on open heathland, deep among pine and oak litter on sandy soil, and in short chalk grassland. The records suggest that it lives mainly in coarse sandy soil, and that it migrates downwards in winter. Adults of both sexes have been found between October and May.
The spider has never been found in abundance at any site. It has not been recorded at any location post-1992, a 100% decline from the number of locations it was recorded from before that date, but it is likely to be under-recorded.
Sand and gravel extraction at some sites, loss of heathland and chalk grassland to agriculture.
Management and conservation
Most specimens have been taken from fairly sparsely vegetated areas, but the maintenance of this type of habitat is probably not essential as it has also been found in woodland litter.
Text based on Dawson, I.K., Harvey, P.R., Merrett, P. & Russell-Smith, A.R. (in prep.). References
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