Association of spiders and lichen on Robben Island, South Africa

14 Jun 2011

The present study is a first record of spider occurrence on Robben Island, South Africa. Some habitats were rich in lichens. As we know, lichens enhance wildlife habitat in less direct ways. The objective of the study was to examine the potential importance of lichens in enriching spider diversity and abundance. A total of 260 spiders (170 from lichens and 90 from bush) were collected following the visual search method over one year. Seasonal trends in overall species richness and abundance indicated that the relative density of spiders was greater in lichens than in bushes. The result suggests that habitat structure, such as branch size and epiphytic lichen abundance, can be an explanation for the greater number of spiders in lichen-rich patches of the island.