RNDr. et Mgr. Ivan Hadrián Tuf, Ph.D.
Mgr. Ondřej Machač, Ph.D.
Anyphaena accentuata (Walckenaer, 1802) ES
Clubiona pallidula (Clerck, 1757) ES
Platnickina tincta (Walckenaer, 1802) ES
Steatoda bipunctata (Linnaeus, 1758) ES
Spiders are common inhabitants of tree hollows, as well as bird nesting boxes, especially in autumn and winter. Some species of spiders use bird nesting boxes for overwintering. We investigated spider assemblages in nesting boxes and how temperature influences the abundance of overwintering spiders in nesting boxes in lowland forest in the Czech Republic. The study was conducted in the European winters of 2015–2017. In total, 3511 spider specimens belonging to 16 identified species were collected from nesting boxes over three years in late autumn and winter. Almost all species were arboreal specialists. The dominant species were Clubiona pallidula, Anyphaena accentuata, Platnickina tincta, and  Steatoda bipunctata. Although the tree species had no effect on the abundance of overwintering spiders, the presence of nest material affected the abundance of spiders in the nesting boxes (preferred by Clubiona pallidula and Platnickina tincta). In general, spiders resettled nesting boxes during winter only sporadically, however Anyphaena accentuata reoccupied boxes continuously, and its activity was positively correlated with the outside temperature. Nesting boxes support insect-eaters all year around—birds during spring and summer and spiders during autumn and winter.
Machač O. & Tuf I. H. (2021): Ornithologists’ help to spiders: Factors influencing spiders overwintering in bird nesting boxes. Insects 12 (465): 1–11. DOI: 10.3390/insects12050465