Summary for Mecopisthes peusi (Araneae)
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About this speciesRecorded altitude range
2m to 160m
The species is mainly confined to central southern England, Wales, Cheshire and Lancashire. It has recently been found in pitfall material from Mersehead, Dumfries and Galloway (I. Dawson, pers. comm.). A European species recorded from Ireland, France, Germany and Austria.
Habitat and ecology
In the south, M. peusi occurs on dry heathland, reaching maximum densities between 5 and 10 years after fire. It lives in the thin layer of litter around the base of heather plants at the edge of patches of bare ground. In Wales, Cheshire and Lancashire, the spider is found on sand dunes and dune slacks on the coast. It is adult from October to July, but the main period of activity is from March to May.
UK Biodiversity Action Plan priority species. All recent records are from the west coast of Wales, Northern England and South-west Scotlend, where it is scarce. The spider has previously been found to be very abundant on heathland in Dorset, Hampshire, West Sussex and Surrey.
Loss of heathland to agriculture, forestry and development.
Management and conservation
Maintain all seral stages of heather by rotational management. This species appears to disperse fairly readily, so the size of managed area is relatively unimportant.
Text based on Dawson, I.K., Harvey, P.R., Merrett, P. & Russell-Smith, A.R. (in prep.). References
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