Species composition of shoreline wolf spider communities vary with salinity, but their diets vary with wrack inflow

Ecol Evol. 2022 Dec 28;12(12):e9701. doi: 10.1002/ece3.9701. eCollection 2022 Dec.


Wolf spiders are typically the most common group of arthropod predators on both lake and marine shorelines because of the high prey availability in these habitats. However, shores are also harsh environments due to flooding and, in proximity to marine waters, to toxic salinity levels. Here, we describe the spider community, prey availabilities, and spider diets between shoreline sites with different salinities, albeit with comparatively small differences (5‰ vs. 7‰). Despite the small environmental differences, spider communities between lower and higher saline sites showed an almost complete species turnover. At the same time, differences in prey availability or spider gut contents did not match changes in spider species composition but rather changed with habitat characteristics within a region, where spiders collected at sites with thick wrack beds had a different diet than sites with little wrack. These data suggest that shifts in spider communities are due to habitat characteristics other than prey availabilities, and the most likely candidate restricting species in high salinity would be saline sensitivity. At the same time, species absence from low-saline habitats remains unresolved.

Keywords: Alopecosa; Arctosa; Fucus; Pardosa; molecular gut content analysis; shoreline fauna.

Associated data

  • Dryad/10.5061/dryad.gxd2547qk