SREL Reprint #0012




Niche Relations of Three Species of Lycosid Spiders


E. J. Kuenzler



Three species of large, nocturnal wolf spiders, Lycosa carolinensis, L. timugua, and L. rabida, were studied in various sandy coastal plain habitats of Aiken County, South Carolina.  The position of these species in relation to seven other lycosids in the upland Sere was worked out (Table 1).  A simple mark-and-recapture method was utilized on 6 one-tenth hectare quadrants to determine spatial relations.  In general, L. timuqua proved to be the most abundant of the three in all types of habitat studied except where there was an abundance of broomsedge in fields or a reasonably dense understory in scrub woods, in which case L. rabida was more numerous.  Home range was represented in two ways.  The first, as an irregular polygon with corners formed by recapture loci, gave a crude estimate because of the small number of recaptures but indicated a small home range for each species.  The second representation, a frequency histogram of the square roots of activity radii, confirmed the small home range and also showed that the burrowers, L. carolinensis, and L. timuqua center their activity around the burrow while L. rabida, a non-burrower, wanders more nearly at random over its home range.  The distribution of the spiders within any one uniform habitat was usually random.  The activities of L. carolinensis and L. timuqua proved to be positively correlated with temperature and relative humidity.  The primary ecological factor separating L. rabida from the other two seems to be vertical stratification since L. rabida is more frequently found above the ground surface.  The exact differences in the niches of L. timuqua and L. carolinensis are not apparent from this study.



Kuenzler, E.J. 1958. Niche relations of three species of lycosid spiders. Ecology 39:494-500.



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