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Distribution and life-cycle of Nelima gothica (Opiliones, Sclerosomatidae) in Danish dunes

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Verbreitung und Lebenszyklus von Nelima gothica (Opiliones, Sclerosomatidae) in dänischen Dünen


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Pitfall trapping in the National Park Thy, north-western Jutland, Denmark, in 2011 and 2013 revealed 3654 specimens of the harvestman Nelima gothica. In most European countries, including Denmark, this species has been considered rare and little information is available on its biology. The species was found predominantly in the yellow dune habitat close to the North Sea coast. Here it could be either very abundant or completely absent at localities only a few kilometres apart. It also occurred in lower numbers in the grey dunes and the dune heathland, and was rare in managed grassland; it disappeared from habitats further inland. In the yellow dunes high numbers were recorded especially in rather dense Ammophila arenaria vegetation not disturbed by sand shifting. The phenology follows the typical pattern of North-European Phalangiidae and Leiobuninae: an annual life-cycle with juveniles developing through late spring and summer months, reproduction in autumn and hibernation in the egg stage. The findings suggest that N. gothica may be found all along the coastal dunes of western Denmark and possibly the Wadden Sea area, though it may only locally reach high abundances. Earlier records also included the coasts of eastern Denmark.


dune habitat, distribution, harvestman, life cycle, phenology