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Biodiversity is known to be the variation of living organisms compromising several levels, beginning from genes, then species, communities, then finally ecosystems. Biodiversity is crucial in maintaining ecological balance, boosting ecosystem productivity, and determining the quality of ecosystem services such as pest management in agriculture. Being aware of biodiversity's importance can also help with the prevention of continuous threats to biodiversity and be best prepared to manage conservation challenges. Typically, mammals, birds, and plants are used to assess biodiversity. However, spiders may be effective in indicating environmental change because they are taxonomically quite diverse, species fill a variety of ecological niches, and they are easy to trap. Spiders can also be very numerous and reflect the heterogeneity of their environment. We assessed spider biodiversity within Eastern Kentucky using pan traps, net hunting, and sifting leaf litter. We have collected a couple thousand spiders so far and identified spiders from 20 families, including Agelenidae (grass spiders), Antrodiaetidae (Folding door Spiders), Anyphaenidae (ghost spiders), Araneidae (orb-weaver spiders), Atypidae (pursueweb spiders), Clubionidae (sac spiders), Ctenizidae (trapdoor spiders), Dictynidae (mesh web spiders), Dysderidae (Woodlouse Spiders), Hahniidae (dwarf sheet spiders), Linyphiidae (money spiders), Lycosidae (wolf spiders), Oxyopidae (lynx spiders), Philodromidae (running crab spiders), Pholcidae (cellar spiders), Pisauridae (nursery-web spiders), Salticidae (jumping spiders), Tetragnathidae (long-jawed orb weaver spiders), Theridiidae (tangle-web spiders), and Thomisidae (crab spiders). Most spiders that were found are Wolf Spiders (Lycosidae) whereas Antrodiaetidae (folding door spiders) and Atypidae (pursue-web spiders) were very rare. We have also discovered 3 genera of tarantula cousins.

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Survey of Spiders within Eastern Kentucky



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