Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2019, Vol. 29 ›› Issue (7): 1113-1126.doi: 10.1007/s11442-019-1648-4

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The response of spiders to less-focused non-crop habitats in the agricultural landscape along the lower reach of the Yellow River

Xiaoyun HOU1,2(), Shengyan DING1,2,*(), Shuang ZHAO1,2, Xiaobo LIU1,2   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Geospatial Technology for the Middle and Lower Yellow River Regions, Ministry of Education, Kaifeng 475004, Henan, China
    2. College of Environment and Planning, Henan University, Kaifeng 475004, Henan, China
  • Received:2018-05-10 Accepted:2019-01-22 Online:2019-07-25 Published:2019-07-25
  • Contact: Shengyan DING;
  • About author:

    Author: Hou Xiaoyun (1989-), PhD Candidate, specialized in ground arthropods research. E-mail:

  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41771202, No.41371195


Non-crop habitats have been suggested to impact local biodiversity significantly in agricultural landscapes. However, there have been few studies of the effects of less-focused non-crop habitats (orchard, wetland, pit and ditch) on variation of spider abundance. In this study, spiders in 30 woodlands were captured using pitfall traps in Fengqiu County, China, and the effects of local and landscape variations at different scales (50 m, 100 m, 200 m, 350 m and 500 m) on spider abundance were analysed. The most important variation that influenced spider abundance at the 500 m scale was the less-focused non-crop habitat (LNH) cover, and 10% was an appropriate proportion of LNH cover to sustain high level of spider diversity in the investigated landscape. Non-metric multidimensional scaling analyses revealed that there were significant differences in the spider composition among the high, medium and low LNH coverage. Based on indicator species analysis, different spider species were associated with landscapes with different levels of LNH cover. Lycosidae, which accounted for 48% of the total specimens, preferred woodland habitats neighbouring areas with high LNH cover. Compared with woodland habitats, LNH provided more diverse food sources and habitat to sustain more spider species in the study area. Furthermore, linear elements composed of vegetation, such as pits and ditches, may prevent agricultural intensification by enhancing landscape connectivity and providing habitats for different spiders. Our findings may provide a theoretical basis for biodiversity conservation in agro-ecosystems and top-down control of pests.

Key words: less-focused non-crop habitats, spider, landscape scale, ecosystem services