The faunistic diversity of spiders (Arachnida: Araneae) of the Savannah Biome of South Africa
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Invertebrates include more than 80% of all animals, yet they are severely under-represented in studies of southern African diversity. Site biodiversity estimates that ignore invertebrates, not only omit the greatest part of what they are attempting to measure, but also neglect major contributors to essential ecosystem processes. All available information on spider species distribution in the South African Savanna Biome was compiled. This is the largest biome in the country, occupying over one third of the surface area.Atotal of 23 739 records from 1260 localities were recorded in the South African Savanna Biome until the end of 2010. This included 1230 species represented by 381 genera and 62 families. The last decade has seen an exponential growth in the knowledge of the group in South Africa, but there certainly are several more species that have to be discovered, and the distribution patterns of those listed are partly unknown. Information is summarised for all quarter-degree squares of the biome and reveals considerable inequalities in knowledge. At a large scale the eastern region is much better surveyed than the western parts, but at finer scales throughout the region, several areas have little information. The Salticidae is the most diverse family (162 spp.) and also has the most endemic savanna species (42 spp.). An endemicity index indicates that 366 species are endemic to the biome, with 322 species that are near endemics, i.e., also occurring in an adjacent biome. An abundance index (1–3) was also calculated for each species based on numbers sampled. A rarity index for each species gives a preliminary indication of their conservation importance. Patterns of guild composition are summarised and species known to play a role as predators in agro-ecosystems found within the biome are also discussed.
- RESEARCH: Foord, S