Summary for Iberina microphthalma (Araneae)
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About this speciesRecorded altitude range
200m to 200m
One female was recorded from Lyscombe Hill, Dorset, and one female from close to Therfield Heath, Royston in Hertfordshire, both in the winter of 1975/76. Also known from Switzerland, Germany, Hungary (Platnick, 2014).
Habitat and ecology
The Dorset example was found in chalk grassland of great age. The other was collected in a field with a clay soil overlying chalk, which had been cultivated for cereals until 1973, allowed to revert to grassland, but then ploughed and harrowed in the autumn of 1975 and which supported a sparse growth of grasses at the time that H. microphthalma was found. Permanent chalk grassland occurred at nearby Therfield Heath. It is possible that this species lives underground in fissures in the soil or in ants' nests. Females have been found in December and January.
Only two specimens are known to science.
If old chalk grassland is important in the ecology of this species, it is likely to have suffered great loss of habitat in recent decades, as it is estimated that over 70% of chalk grassland was destroyed in Britain between 1940 and 1984 (Nature Conservancy Council 1984). Much of this loss has been the result of conversion to arable agriculture. The Royston field is now under cultivation.
Management and conservation
Until more is known about the species' autecology little can be said about its management requirements.
Text based on Dawson, I.K., Harvey, P.R., Merrett, P. & Russell-Smith, A.R. (in prep.). References
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