Spider checklist for the Blouberg, in the Vhembe Biosphere Reserve, South Africa
Keywords:South African Survey of Arachnida, conservation status, endemicity, exotic species, threats, Limpopo province
Background: The north-eastern mountainous region of South Africa has been identified as a spider diversity hotspot and centre of endemisim. The Blouberg is an isolated inselberg that forms part of the Soutpansberg geological complex, the northernmost mountain in South Africa.
Objectives: This article provides an updated species list of the Blouberg spiders, which includes details of the distribution patterns and conservation statuses of all taxa. Exotic species and species of special conservation concern are identified.
Method: Surveys were conducted between 2005 and 2012, and a range of collecting methods were used to sample both the ground and field layers.
Results: A total of 47 families were sampled in 210 genera and 346 species. The families of Salticidae (45 spp.), Gnaphosidae (32 spp.), Thomisidae (31 spp.), Araneidae (26 spp.) and Lycosidae (24 spp.) were the most diverse. Five species are of conservation concern, one species is Vulnerable, one is possibly exotic and 62 species are South African endemics.
Conclusion: Presently, 17% of South African species are protected on the mountain and its surrounding foothills. The latter are of particular conservation concern, while the mountaintop and its associated habitats are under-sampled.