Spiders (Arachnida: Araneae) in dry grasslands of South Ukraine: a case study of Yelanetskyi Steppe Natural Reserve
Spinnen (Arachnida: Araneae) auf Trockenrasen in der südlichen Ukraine: eine Untersuchung im Naturschutzgebiet Yelanetskyi Steppe.
Dry grassland areas of Ukraine are highly fragmented due to human activity. All of them require protection and thorough study of their biota. Arachnological research in the Yelanetskyi Steppe Natural Reserve has been conducted for the first time. An annotated list of spiders includes 113 species in 23 families. Salticidae (20 species, 17.7% of the species list) and Gnaphosidae (18 species, 15.9%) are the most species rich. The studied reserve is the westernmost locality of Ero koreana Paik, 1967 and Zelotes eugenei Kovblyuk, 2009. Richest were the ecotone habitats on the edges of forest plantations and shrub thickets (43–45 species), while the poorest were the most disturbed open grassland habitats like grazed steppe, secondary steppe and meadows (25–26 species). Spider assemblages of the undisturbed forb-fescue-feather grass and petrophytic steppe habitats accounted for 33–37 species. A comparison of the dry grassland spider faunas of 11 protected areas in the steppe and forest-steppe zones of Ukraine showed that the araneofauna of the Yelanetskyi Steppe is most similar to those of both forb-fescue-feather grass steppes of Southeast Ukraine and fescue-feather grass steppes of South Ukraine. Moreover, the spider fauna of the Yelanetskyi Steppe contains the least specific elements. 33% of the species are widespread and only 3.8% are recorded from one or only two close sites. Similarity of the spider faunas depends on the geographical location of the study area and on the types of the grasslands.
European fauna, conservation areas, steppe ecosystems