New spider species to science discovered in the Lleida drylands

In the framework of the European project FARMLAND during the springs of 2013 and 2014 we collected insects and arachnids by pitfall traps in different agricultural areas of the Lleida plain, in order to know how the degree of crop and edge heterogeneity of the farmland landscapes affect the community and diversity of spiders (and other taxa).

In the process of identification of those specimens, carried out by the expert on arachnids Dr. José Antonio Barrientos, from the Autonomous University of Barcelona, we have identified a new species to science of the genus Zelotes. We captured 27 adults and 13 juveniles in different localities of the Lleida plain, which suggests that it is not a rare species, but simply could have gone unnoticed due to a lack of prospect and/or its similarity with other species of the genus. We also found seven new species for the Iberian Peninsula, not mentioned until now in this geographical area.

Thus, beyond the interest of the FARMLAND project on how heterogeneous landscapes (mosaics) contribute to a greater diversity of species, this study is providing important data on arachnids in Catalonia and the Iberian Peninsula. These findings also highlight the lack of knowledge we still have nowadays about the presence and distribution of some wildlife groups such as some arthropods, even in Europe, despite being one of the most well-studied regions in the world.

Zelotes fulvopilosus, , a similar species to the new species found.

  • Print this article!
  • Facebook
  • RSS
  • Twitter