A Survey of Spider Diversity in Morgan-Monroe/Yellowwood State Forest
As both predators and prey, spiders are important components of forest ecosystems, yet there
is a paucity of information about spider species assemblages in Indiana forests. Between 2014 and 2017, the Indiana Forest Alliance sponsored an extensive taxonomic survey, called an ecoblitz, in Morgan-Monroe/Yellowwood State Forests in Indiana. During this ecoblitz, 128 spider species were collected. Of these species, 31 were new distribution records for Indiana. Of the total number of species collected, 62% were collected in the bottomland habitat, 60% on slopes, and 19% on ridges. Only 10% of the total species were found in all three habitats. In pair-wise comparisons of habitats, species composition differed between habitats even when species richness was similar. Likewise, collection of spider species during the day differed in composition from those collected at night with only 26% collected during both periods. These data emphasize the benefits of multi-year surveys, such as the ecoblitz, and the importance of sampling in multiple habitats as well as during the day and the night. The high number of new distribution records in our sample reinforces the premise that spiders as a group are underrepresented in scientific studies of forests in Indiana.