0177. Spiders (Arachnida: Araneae) of Saba Island, Lesser Antilles: Unusually high species richness indicates the Caribbean Biodiversity Hotspot is woefully undersampled

Jozef Slowik, Derek S. Sikes

Abstract


Saba Island (Caribbean Netherlands) is one of the northernmost islands of the Lesser Antilles. It is only 13 square kilometers but contains a wide variety of potential spider habitats including dry, moist, and elfin forests. As part of a collaborative effort between Conservation International and Saba Conservation Foundation, during a several week period in March and May 2008 we briefly surveyed the island for spiders and other arthropods. This survey, the first for spiders of Saba, resulted in the identification of 18 families and 76 spider species, including six new species that will be described elsewhere and may be endemic to Saba. The species richness of Saba’s spider fauna is considerably higher than that reported from other small Caribbean islands. We conclude this is probably a combined result of undersampling and lower habitat diversity on these other islands.

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