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Effects of minimum-tillage practices on spider activity in old-field swards

Effects of minimum-tillage practices on spider activity in old-field swards

Environmental entomology 18(6): 945-952

Introduction of desirable legume species into old fields for improvement of forage production allows survival of much of the natural old-field fauna. This study used covered pitfall traps at four field locations of minimum-tillage tests to examine the responses of the spider community to physical and chemical disturbances of the habitat. Management involved the introduction of three legume species, herbicide treatment, mowing and raking, insecticide application, and mollusk control treatments. Although spider activity appeared to be lower in the no-till plots than in previous old-field studies or in mature alfalfa field studies, 19 spider species were repeatedly trapped. Carbofuran spray for insect control caused a reduction in the capture rate for the most common species in the treated plots but did not cause permanent extinction. Plots treated with methiocarb for mollusk control did not differ from controls for spider trapping rate. Analysis was complicated by clumped distributions of spiders that could not be associated with any of the pesticide treatments or management practices. This study demonstrated that a diverse spider population survives and is active during the establishment phase of minimum-tillage pasture improvement. For late summer and early fall samples, the numbers of spiders trapped were considerably lower than numbers encountered in other studies for mature legume stands.

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Accession: 001818916

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DOI: 10.1093/ee/18.6.945

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