Diversity and Foraging Behaviour of Spider (Arachnida: Araneae) in the Temperate Maize Ecosystem of Kashmir
The species composition, habitat associations, web construction and foraging behaviour of spiders were studied in temperate maize ecosystem of Kashmir. Thirty seven species under 13 families and 28 genera were recorded from all study sites. Most spiders belonged to the Lycosidae, Theridiidae, Tetragnathidae, Salticidae, Pisauridae and Gnaphosidae. These families comprised 62.84% of total spiders collected in maize ecosystem. The maximum number of species was recorded in the family Araneidae but their numbers were quit low. The maximum proportion of spiders were in the group of visual hunter (53.93%) followed by webbuilding spiders (28.55%) which includes orb-web builders (15.94%) and space-web builders (12.61%) and the lowest was 17.52% of tactile hunters. The several species of spiders encountered in each location exhibited specific habitat preferences and segregated the microhabitat in to numerous niches. Since several maize insect pests regularly dwell frequently of these niches, diverse spider species might act in a complementary mode to suppress insect pest populations.
Biodiversity, Foraging Behaviour, Habitat Associations, Maize Ecosystem, Species Composition, Spider and Relative.
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