Summary for Xysticus sabulosus (Araneae)
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About this speciesRecorded altitude range
0m to 490m
The species has a patchy and very scattered distribution in England, Scotland and Wales. It is a Palaearctic species widespread in western and central Europe.
Habitat and ecology
A complex patterning containing much brown and black confers good camouflage for this species in its favoured habitat on sand or gravel on heathland, although it has occasionally been found on low heathland vegetation. It can be regarded as a pioneer species on burnt heathland, numbers rising to a high level in the first two to three years after burning (Merrett 1976). It is the only member of the group in which mature specimens of both sexes may be found into the autumn and, indeed, female activity has been recorded from March through to December suggesting that egg-laying may be interrupted by winter and completed in the spring (Merrett 1967a).
Uncommon and very local, although Merrett (1967a) showed that it could be an abundant thomisid on some areas of southern English heathland. Despite the likelihood of some under-recording on southern heathlands it has apparently undergone a significant major decline throughout the UK.
Much of the recent decline has probably been due to conversion of heathland to forestry and building. The lack of grazing or burning on some heathlands may have allowed scrub to encroach thus destroying its preferred habitat.
Management and conservation
Protect existing heathland from conversion to other land-uses. Ensure heathland is managed to create sufficient open-ground habitats.
Text based on Dawson, I.K., Harvey, P.R., Merrett, P. & Russell-Smith, A.R. (in prep.). References
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