Otto & Japoshvili (2018): The spiders (Arachnida: Araneae) of the Lagodekhi Reserve, Georgia: faunistic results of a transect study and an updated checklist
Abstract: In the largest systematic spider collection effort in a single location in the Caucasus Ecoregion, across several altitudinal zones and throughout the entire vegetation period of one year, 426 juvenile and 359 adult spiders belonging to 69 species from 48 genera and 19 families were collected in the Lagodekhi Reserve (Georgia) in 2014, using Malaise traps on a transect with seven study plots between 666 and 2559 m in the montane, subalpine and alpine vegetation zones. Phoroncidia pilula (Karsch, 1879) is recorded in the Western Palaearctic for the first time. Thirty-eight species are recorded in the Lagodekhi Reserve for the first time, raising the number of spider species of this reserve to 202 species, five additions are first records for the Caucasus Ecoregion and ten species are first records for Georgia. Diagnostic drawings and analyses are provided for 13 species, e.g. Megalepthyphantes pseudocollinus Saaristo, 1997, Phoroncidia paradoxa (Lucas, 1846), P. pilula (Karsch, 1879) and Trochosa cachetiensis Mcheidze, 1997. An updated checklist of the spiders in the Lagodekhi Reserve is provided.
Otto, S. & Japoshvili, G. (2018): The spiders (Arachnida: Araneae) of the Lagodekhi Reserve, Georgia: faunistic results of a transect study and an updated checklist. Arachnology 17(8) 375-391. [PDF link]
[soon to be updated: -> link to this publication’s page on https://caucasus-spiders.info/]
Portrait of Hans Betten (Courtesy of Hans W. Betten, Iserlohn, (c) 2018)
The current issue of the Arachnological Letters contains an epitaph on Hans Betten (1915-1957), a zoologist and school teacher interested in spiders [PDF link]. Despite not having published own research on spiders himself, he contributed a number of his own arachnological observations to the linyphiid studies of Hermann Wiehle during the 1950s, resulting in Wiehle posthumously naming a new species after him: Theridion betteni Wiehle, 1960. Find out more about this species on araneae – unibe [external link].
The text is in English [PDF link] but you can request an English translation from me.
Mikhailov et al. 2017, full-text PDF
Clubiona caucasica Mikhailov & Otto, 2017 has been described from the Caucasus in Mikhailov et al. (2017). Apparently all former records of Clubiona caerulescens from the Caucasus actually belong to this new species and C. caerulescens does not occur in the Caucasus Ecoregion.
Visit the species page of Clubiona caucasica on caucasus-spiders.info.
1. Caucasian Spiders Database (Version 1.4.3)
Homepage of Caucasian Spiders Database (click to access homepage).
Version 1.4.3 of the Caucasian Spider Database includes 13321 records of 1107 spider species, destilling the information distributed across 275 publications with occurrence data of spiders in the Caucaus Ecoregion.
Citation: Otto, S. (2015): Caucasian Spiders. A faunistic database on the spiders of the Caucasus. Version 1.4.3 Internet: http://caucasus-spiders.info/
2. Commented Checklist of the Spider Species (Araneae) in the Caucasus Ecoregion
Front page of article (click to download PDF).
Abstract: The commented checklist is based on 275 publications with occurrence data on spiders in the Caucasus Ecoregion (13321 records of 1107 species). The number of records as well as its abundance status is given for each species. The list of doubtful and erroneous species records contains another 57 species, which are either invalid species or their species records in the Caucasus Ecoregion are based on doubtful records, misidentications or related reasons. A record density map for the Caucasus Ecoregion is provided.
: Otto, S. (2015): Commented Checklist of the Spider Species (Araneae) in the Caucasus Ecoregion. In: Otto, S. (ed.): Caucasian Spiders. A faunistic database on the spiders of the Caucasus. Version 1.4.3 Internet: http://caucasus-spiders.info/checklist/
Habitus of the male of Incestophantes shetekaurii Otto & Tanasevitch 2015
Otto, S. & Tanasevitch, A.V. (2015): A new Incestophantes Tanasevitch, 1992 from the high mountains of the Caucasus Major (Arachnida: Aranei: Linyphiidae). Arthropoda Selecta 24(1): 107-112 (PDF)
Chimghisklde Ridge in Assa Valley (Khevsureti) – with alpine scree as the habitat of the new species.
Abstract: The new species, Incestophantes shetekaurii sp.n., is described from the high mountains of the Caucasus Major (Georgia, 2500 m a.s.l.). This new species is similar to the European-West Siberian I. crucifer (Menge, 1866) and to the Crimean I. australis Gnelitsa, 2009, but differs noticeably in the details of the genitalia in both sexes. The generic position of Bolyphantes lagodekhensis (Tanasevitch, 1990), and its differences to I. shetekaurii sp.n., is briefly discussed and illustrated.
storing spiders and labels in conservation fluids is part of preparing them for microscopic observation
In arachnology, collected spiders sometimes have to be prepared before microscopic observations are made. Some of these preparations require a pair of very pointy/sharp forceps, a calm hand, some practice and a couple of chemicals (mounting media) for clearing and mounting certain body parts.
The new page on Spider Preparation describes some of the techniques involved and the page Mounting Media is dedicated to the making and use of chemicals in arachnology.
I’d be happy to receive any comments and notes on these topics and would happily share your „secret recipe“ in spider preparation on these pages.
Chaladze, G., S. Otto & S. Tramp (2014): A spider diversity model for the Caucasus Ecoregion. Journal of Insect Conservation 18(3): 407-416 DOI 10.1007/s10841-014-9649-1 PDF
Species richness distribution of all species with a valid distribution model across the study area. Darker shades indicate higher predicted numbers of species
Abstract: Precise information on spatial patterns of species richness and endemic species distribution is important for effective species conservation. In the Caucasus Ecoregion such information is virtually non-existent for invertebrate taxa. Using occurrence data from a large database we calculated species distribution models with the GARP algorithm for 471 spider species to visualize the diversity distribution of spider species in this region. Overall species diversity was highest in mountain forests of the North Caucasus, east-central Georgia, the southern slopes of the eastern Great Caucasus and south-east Azerbaijan. A regression tree analysis Chi squared automatic interaction detector method revealed the mean temperature of the driest quarter and precipitation parameters to be the main environmental factors shaping these patterns. Diversity of endemic species was correlated with overall species diversity but hotspots of endemic species (10+ percent of all species) exists in high-mountain areas, suggesting post-glacial speciation events in the high mountains as the main sources of high endemism in Caucasus. Further information on the spatial distribution of species diversity of invertebrate taxa in the Caucasus Ecoregion is needed to improve conservation efforts in this biodiversity hotspot.
Covers of the Georgian original (Mcheidze 1997) and the tanslation (Mcheidze 2014).
After five years the translation of Tamara Mcheidze’s book Georgian Spiders (1997) is finally finished (download Georgian original as PDF); it contains taxonomic, faunistic and ecological information on the 362 spider species recorded by T. Mcheidze in Georgia between the 1920s and 1992. The English edition resembles the original text, with a preface and taxonomic comments by me. You can download the e-book from the vifabio repository (use download link in the right column) or the direct link. It is an open access publication with a CC-BY-SA license. I also added supplementary information (pp. 401-425) on locations, a location map and an index to make the mentioned spider records more accessible. Enjoy reading!
Mcheidze, T. (2014): Georgian Spiders – Systematics, Ecology and Zoogeographic Analysis. (ed.: Otto, S.) vifabioDOC – Virtual Library of Biology, Frankfurt/Main: 425 pp. ISBN 978-3-00-044355-8 DOI 10.5431/mcheidze2014
Otto, S. (2014): Part III: Supplementary Information to the Translation of Tamara Mcheidze’s Book Georgian Spiders. In: Mcheidze, T. (2014): Georgian Spiders – Systematics, Ecology and Zoogeographic Analysis. (ed.: Otto, S.) vifabioDOC – Virtual Library of Biology, Frankfurt/Main: 401-425. DOI 10.5431/mcheidze2014
The Caucasian Spiders Database is updated! Almost 11,000 records amount to 1107 species: http://caucasus-spiders.info/