Download Full Text (1.1 MB)


Significant knowledge gaps exist in how land-cover impacts ground-hunting spider populations. To fill these gaps, this study investigates a common family of ground-hunting spiders, Lycosidae, to determine differences in their abundance and diversity in deciduous leaf litter and managed turfgrass (lawn). The study was conducted within a forested ecosystem at Virginia Commonwealth University's Rice Rivers Center in Charles City County, Virginia. I placed 10 belt transects (1m x 20m) on lawn substrate and 10 identical transects in deciduous forest leaf litter substrate. I performed repeated visual census via eyeshine and manual capture of up to three individuals per transect per survey in the July and August of 2023. There was significant difference in abundance between lawn and leaf litter transects, with higher average abundance in leaf litter transects (p = 0.01). There was also significant difference in total Lycosid abundance between survey periods (chi-squared = 23.6, df = 3, p = 2.9e-05). There were no significant differences in diversity (Shannon Diversity Index; W = 68 and p = 0.18); however, several species had significant associations with lawn or leaf litter substrate.These findings can aid in the understanding of human land management on a group of understudied, but abundant and ecologically vital arthropod predators, and suggests further research into the habitat preferences of Lycosid spiders is needed.

Publication Date


Subject Major(s)

Environmental Science


Lycosidae, Abundance, Diversity, Substrate, Habitat


Animal Experimentation and Research | Biodiversity | Research Methods in Life Sciences | Terrestrial and Aquatic Ecology

Current Academic Year


Faculty Advisor/Mentor

Dan Albrecht-Mallinger


© The Author(s)

Lycosidae Abundance and Diversity Across Lawn and Leaf Litter Substrate