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Diversity of non-acarine arachnids of the Ophathe Game Reserve, South Africa: Testing a rapid sampling protocol

By Charles R. Haddad and Anna S. Dippenaar-Schoeman

Abstract

<p>As part of the second phase of the South African National Survey of Arachnida (SANSA), field surveys were conducted in many degree-square grids throughout the country using a standardised rapid sampling protocol. This study reports on the arachnid diversity of the Ophathe Game Reserve (OGR) in northern KwaZulu-Natal, as found during a preliminary survey in June 2007 (mid winter) and a SANSA field survey in October 2008 (mid spring) in four representative habitats. The SANSA survey included seven sampling methods: pitfalls, beating, sweep-netting, litter sifting, hand collecting, night collecting and Winkler traps. A total of 282 species in six arachnid orders were collected during the two surveys, of which spiders were the most species-rich order (268 species in 47 families). The SANSA survey yielded 966 adult arachnids, representing six orders and 197 species, with a further 67 species represented only by immatures. Although adult arachnid abundance (<em>n</em>) differed considerably between the four habitats (range: 156–321), adult species richness (S<sub>obs</sub>) was less variable (range: 65–85). These survey results are comparable with several longer-term surveys in the Savanna biome, and indicate that the SANSA sampling protocol can yield an impressive diversity of arachnids during a relatively short period of sampling, with a high level of coverage (&gt; 0.8 for sites and most sampling methods) and moderate levels of sample completion for adults (&gt; 0.55 for all sites), despite logistical and temporal challenges. Additional repetitions of the SANSA sampling protocol in other seasons will likely increase biodiversity knowledge of arachnids in OGR considerably.</p><p><strong>Conservation implications:</strong> The implementation of rapid sampling protocols in an atlas project is essential to generate a large volume of species-level data. The SANSA protocol is an efficient means for rapidly generating arachnid data, and in future will allow for an assessment of diversity patterns in degree-square grids across South Africa.</p

Topics: SANSA, Arachnida, spiders, savanna, species, General. Including nature conservation, geographical distribution, QH1-199.5
Publisher: AOSIS
Year: 2015
DOI identifier: 10.4102/koedoe.v57i1.1255
OAI identifier: oai:doaj.org/article:f1995b986573452c80976eb10a1782f8
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