Spider richness in Kuttanad, a major low-lying rice agroecosystem in Central Kerala, India
Keywords:Spider fauna, Paddy fields, Kuttanad, Biocontrol, Paddy pest.
This study focused on the spider fauna of the rice agroecosystem around Kuttanad’s paddy fields and proximate areas.
The spider richness, abundance, and species composition between the rice agroecosystem and nearby surroundings
were assessed from July 2021 to April 2022. Pitfall trap and sweeping net were used to conduct monthly collection in
six sites: Edthuva, Champakulam, Veeyapuram, Kainakary, Moncompu, and Karuvatta. We collected only adult spiders
for identification. Edthuva represented the highest number of specimens, followed by Champakulam, Moncompu,
Karuvatta, Kainakary, and Veeyapuram. Representatives from 16 families were obtained, with Salticidae, Araneidae,
and Tetragnathidae being the most prevalent. Also, it was noted that the spider species in rice fields were typical, and
statistical analysis revealed a substantial variation in species composition between paddy fields and their nearby areas.
In addition to the species diversity, a closer look at the vertical distribution pattern of orb-web weavers belonging to
Tetragnathidae and Araneidae in paddy fields were also observed. The diversity indices indicate that the Edthuva and
Champakulam rice agroecosystem spider communities are more diversified than those in other locations.