Summary for Karita paludosa (Araneae)
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About this speciesRecorded altitude range
1m to 5m
Carorita paludosa is known in Britain from only four sites: Reedham Marsh and Hickling Broad (1970), Wheatfen (1971), Catfield Fen (1989) all in East Norfolk, and Westhay Moor, Somerset (1973). Recorded in 2008 from Catfield Common (Hickling Broad), Sharp Street nr Ludham and Woodbastwick Fen, all in East Norfolk (see Lott et al., 2010). Although clearly a rare species in Britain, in at least two of the sites (Reedham Marsh and Wheatfen) it has occurred in some numbers, as is the case in the De Blankaart Nature Reserve in Belgium (Decleer & Bosmans, 1989). In Europe it has been recorded from Counties Clare and Down in Ireland, five localities in Belgium, one locality in the boreal area of Sweden and Germany.
Habitat and ecology
In Britain it has been recorded from Sphagnum tussocks in alder/willow carr woodland as well as litter and cut grass and sedge in Cladium mariscus sedge-beds in fenland in East Anglia. In Somerset it was found in Phalaris litter and moss in moist but not very wet ground with old peat cuttings and carr woodland nearby. In Belgium it has been most frequently recorded from reed-beds but also from Phalaris and Carex litter and Glyceria maxima vegetation. All sites in Belgium had a thick litter layer and there is some evidence that this may be an important feature of the micro-habitat of this species. In Britain, adults have been collected in September, October and February while in Belgium they have been recorded in all months from February to October.
Recorded from three locations in two hectads since 1992. Known from three hectads before 1992, an apparent decline of 50% in area of occupancy. The minute size of this species means that it may possibly have been overlooked in otherwise well recorded fenland sites.
Hickling Broad is a National Nature Reserve within a larger SSSI and both Reedham Marshes and Catfield Fen are parts of an SSSI. In Somerset, Westhay Moor is a Local Nature Reserve and an SSSI. In the Norfolk broads, drainage of marshland and invasion of herbaceous fen communities by scrub and carr woodland as a result of abandonment of traditional mowing practices may be the principal threats. However, in Belgium, Decleer & Bosmans (1989) found this species to very much less abundant in plots that were regularly cut than in uncut plots in the de Blankaart Nature Reserve and the effect of frequency of mowing on populations of this species (in relation to maintenance of a dense litter layer) will require further study. In the Somerset Levels, conversion of grazing marsh to arable agriculture with attendant drainage works has lowered the water table over much of the area. Westhay Moor has also been severely damaged by peat extraction for horticultural use.
Management and conservation
Sedge cutting has been reinstated at both Reedham Marshes and Catfield Fen as a means of controlling scrub and carr invasion into sedge beds. At Westhay Moor, the local Trust has purchased an area of worked out peat diggings on which it is eventually hoped that acid bog habitats will be re-established.
Text based on Dawson, I.K., Harvey, P.R., Merrett, P. & Russell-Smith, A.R. (in prep.). References
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