Populations of Ctenus wandering spiders in Amazonian forest fragments

Ctenus is a genus of wandering spiders abundant in Neotropical and African rainforests and is becoming a model organism to understand the biology of predators in the leaf litter fauna. We compared abundance, sex ratio, seasonality and size dimorphism in populations of four species of medium sized wandering spiders, Ctenus amphora, C. crulsi, C. manauara and C. villasboasi in primary forests, fragments with different areas, their borders and secondary forests near them. This study was conducted between February and July 1999, in a terra-firme (non-flooded) tropical rain forest, in central Amazonia. The spiders were measured and counted in transects of 250x5 m or 500x5 m in three secondary forest sites, four fragments of primary forest of 1 ha, three of 10 ha, two of 100 ha and four reserves of continuous forest (larger than 10.000 ha). There was a significant predominance of females in two species (C. amphora- 74% and C. crulsi- 65%), sexual dimorphism significant in three species (C. amphora, C. crulsi, and C. manauara), and temporal variation of the abundance for the four species. These results corroborate and complement tendencies from previous studies. There were no statistical differences between spider abundance in interior, borders and between reserves of different areas. Effects of border and size of fragments on the Ctenus spider populations are smaller than the previously observed variations among different habitats in the forest interior. There was no difference in spider size captured in small reserves, large reserves, edges, and continuous forests sites. Comparing these results with other study in the same sites, we conclude that the effects of fragmentation in Ctenus spiders decrease with second grown regeneration, resulting in a rapid reply of these species to habitat modifications.

Wandering spiders; Ctenus; Populations; Amazonia; Forest Fragments

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