Deltshev C, Lazarov S, Naumova M & Stoev P


A survey of spiders (Araneae) inhabiting the euedaphic soil stratum and the superficial underground compartment in Bulgaria

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A survey of spiders (Araneae) inhabiting the euedaphic soil stratum and the superficial underground compartment in Bulgaria


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In 2005 a team of Bulgarian zoologists started a project aiming to study the invertebrates inhabiting the deeper soil stratum (euedaphon) and the Superficial Underground Compartment (SUC) in Bulgaria. In the course of a four-year sampling, a total of 52 species of spiders were caught from 19 collecting sites and 9 geographical regions. They belong to the following families: Scytodidae (1), Segestriidae (1), Dysderidae (8), Nesticidae (1), Anapidae (1), Theridiidae (1), Linyphiidae (20), Agelenidae (3), Cybaeidae (1), Dictynidae (2), Amaurobiidae (2), Liocranidae (3), Corinnidae (1), Zodariidae (1), Gnaphosidae (5), and Salticidae (1). The family Anapidae, with the species Zangherella relicta (Kratochvíl, 1935) is recorded from three sites in the Pirin and Slavyanka mountains, and this represents the first record of the family, genus and species in Bulgaria. In spite of the active investigations of the epigean and cave spiders in these regions over the years Z. relicta was not found and it seems it occurs only in deeper subterranean habitats and nowhere else. Comparative study of almost topotypic specimens of Z. relicta from Montenegro with those collected from Bulgaria showed no variation in the shape of palp and female vulvae. Until the true identity of Z. apuliae (Caporiacco, 1949) from Italy is revealed, it remains unclear whether Z. relicta and Z. apuliae are conspecific, as it remains unclear whether the older records of Z. apuliae from the Balkan Peninsula refer to this species or to Z. relicta. Pelecopsis mengei (Simon, 1884) (Linyphiidae) and Scotolathys simplex Simon, 1884 (Dictynidae) are also reported from Bulgaria for the first time, the latter being also new to FYR of Macedonia. A faunistic overview of the spiders found in these underground environments is made, along with remarks on the distribution and ecology of some rare and interesting species. The presence of cave-dwelling and superficial spiders in the sampled sites indicates that SUC and euedaphon are inhabited by different ecotypes, e.g. litter- (tanathostromic), soil- (edaphic) and cave-(troglobitic) which at some places co-occur.


Anapidae; subterranean environments; troglomorphism; Zangherella relicta