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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal Bucher R & Entling MH
Volume (Issue) 65
Page(s) 680 - 685
Title of proceedings Bucher R & Entling MH


1. Habitat fragmentation is a major threat to biodiversity because it disrupts movement between habitat patches. In addition, arthropod fitness may be reduced in fragmented habitats, e.g. due to reduced prey availability. 2. We studied the relationship of spider body condition with habitat fragmentation, population density, and prey availability. We expected that prey availability and population density of spiders would be affected by landscape composition and patch isolation. Body condition should be enhanced by high prey availability, but negatively affected by population density due to competition. 3. We sampled spiders on 30 groups of cherry trees that varied independently in the level of isolation from other woody habitats and in the percentage of woody habitat within 500 m radius. As a measure of body condition, we used residuals of the relationship between individual body mass/opisthosoma width and prosoma width of the two most common orb-weaving spider species, Nuctenea umbratica Clerck and Araniella opisthographa Kulczynski. 4. Body condition of A. opisthographa was positively orrelated with the abundance of flies, which increased with the percentage of forest in the landscape. In contrast, body condition of N. umbratica was reduced at high population densities, presumably due to intraspecific competition. In addition, body condition and population density of A. opisthographa was lower at isolated sites. 5. Our study suggests that effects of landscape fragmentation on body condition vary strongly between spider species, depending on the relative role of food limitation and intraspecific competition.