Summary for Pardosa agrestis (Araneae)
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About this speciesRecorded altitude range
0m to 250m
The species is probably more or less restricted to the southern half of England, with many coastal records referable to P. purbeckensis. It is widespread in Europe. Roberts (1985) included P. purbeckensis in P. agrestis, but also stated that the most reliable method of separating P. purbeckensis is by consideration of its habitat. Locket & Millidge (1951) provide the best identification characters.
Habitat and ecology
The spider occurs mainly on sparsely vegetated clay soil, in clay pits and chalk pits, on under-cliff and dry banks above saltmarsh. In Leicestershire it has turned up in large numbers in herb-rich hay meadow and grazed marsh in the River Welland flood plain (Crocker & Daws 1996). The greatest concentration of records seems to come from the region of Oxford clay, chalk, and London clay, in southern central and eastern England. Both sexes are adult mainly between May and July, occasionally until September.
P. agrestis (as recognised by Locket & Millidge 1951; Merrett & Murphy 2000) is abundant at some sites, but very local.
The loss of sites to development and the loss of open habitats to seral succession are probably the most important threats.
Management and conservation
Retain old clay pits and chalk pits and avoid their use for rubbish dumping. Scrub removal, low level grazing and small scale disturbance is likely to benefit this species by providing a continuity of areas of sparsely vegetated ground.
Text based on Dawson, I.K., Harvey, P.R., Merrett, P. & Russell-Smith, A.R. (in prep.). References
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