Predation potential of foliage spiders and estimates of utilization curve, niche breadth and overlap in cotton filed from Punjab, Pakistan

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Research Paper 01/09/2014
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Predation potential of foliage spiders and estimates of utilization curve, niche breadth and overlap in cotton filed from Punjab, Pakistan

Muhammad Riaz, Syed Atif Hasan Naqvi
J. Bio. Env. Sci.5( 3), 364-375, September 2014.
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Abstract

Production of cotton is restricted by pest infestation causing deterioration in lint quality. Spiders being generalist predators regulate insect populations. Bio diversity and relative abundance of spiders as predator as well as feeding niches of nine co existing spider species in cotton were computed and compared for the niche breadth; niche and specific overlaps. A comparative niche analysis providing insight to the community structure is a prerequisite to observe the predation impact of spiders. Overall 320 spider predators captured belong to six families, ten genera and twenty four species. Nine species constitute 85.6% of total spider predators fauna belong to Araneidae, Oxyopidae, Salticidae and Thomisidae . Maximum predator population was observed in September 31.7% of total and lowest observed in July 8.75%. Neoscona mukerji was found in order 19.3 % to total synoptic species followed by Oxyopes bermanicus 16.7%, O. wroughtoni 13.5 %, O. javanus 11.3 %, Neoscona theis 10.2 %, Runcinia albostriata 9.2 %, O. hindustanicus 7.2 %, Marpisa tigrina 6.5 % and O. tineatipes forming 5.8 % respectively. The maximum spider diet comprise insect orders Hemiptera 0.28 % followed by Diptera 0.20 %, Hymenoptera 0.13 %, Orthoptera 0.10 %, Lepidoptera , 0.06 %, Odonata 0.04 %, Coleoptera , 0.05 %, Thysonoptera 0.05 %, and lastly Araneae 0.04 %. The utilization curve of Neoscona mukerji reflects major component of its diet comprised order Hemiptera, Diptera , and Hymenoptera i.e. 83% where as other insect order represent only 17%. The estimates of niche breadth reflects that Neoscona mukerji has reduced value and predates only three insect orders as diet which confirmed it is specialist predator in cotton. The Levinꞌs diet overlap estimates represent the pair comprisig of O. wroughtoni with O. Javanus,pair O. wroughtoni with O. hindustanics and pair O. tineatipes with M. tigrina, pair O. hindustanicus with R. albostriata and pair R. albostriata with O. tineatipes has complete overlap. Sixteen pairs signify complete overlap test on one another during present study out of thirty six pairs and use same resources i.e. prey items while remaining twenty three pairs represent no complete overlap and use different resources.

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