RNDr. Andrej Mock, Ph.D.
RNDr. Vlastimil Růžička, CSc.

Spiders (Arachnida: Araneae) are widespread in subterranean ecosystems worldwide and represent an important component of subterranean trophic webs. Yet, global-scale diversity patterns of subterranean spiders are still mostly unknown. In the frame of the CAWEB project, a European joint network of cave arachnologists, we collected data on cave-dwelling spider communities across Europe in order to explore their continental diversity patterns. Two main datasets were compiled: one listing all subterranean spider species recorded in numerous subterranean localities across Europe and another with high resolution data about the subterranean habitat in which they were collected. From these two datasets, we further generated a third dataset with individual geo-referenced occurrence records for all these species.

New information

Data from 475 geo-referenced subterranean localities (caves, mines and other artificial subterranean sites, interstitial habitats) are herein made available. For each subterranean locality, information about the composition of the spider community is provided, along with local geomorphological and habitat features. Altogether, these communities account for >
300 unique taxonomic entities and 2,091 unique geo-referenced occurrence records, that are made available via the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) (Mammola and Cardoso 2019). This dataset is unique in that it covers both a large geographic extent (from 35° south to 67° north) and contains high-resolution local data on geomorphological and habitat features. Given that this kind of high-resolution data are rarely associated with broad-scale datasets used in macroecology, this  dataset has high potential for helping researchers in tackling a range of biogeographical and macroecological questions, not necessarily uniquely related to arachnology or subterranean biology.