Urbanization is a major threat to arthropod biodiversity and abundance due to reduction and loss of suitable natural habitat. Green spaces and small-scale agricultural areas may provide habitat and resources for arthropods within densely developed cities. We studied spider activity density (a measure of both abundance and degree of movement) and diversity in urban gardens in Santa Cruz, Santa Clara, and Monterey counties in central California, USA. We sampled for spiders with pitfall traps and sampled 38 local site characteristics for 5 mo in 19 garden sites to determine the relative importance of individual local factors. We also analyzed 16 landscape variables at 500-m and 1-km buffers surrounding each garden to determine the significance of landscape factors. We identified individuals from the most common families to species and identified individuals from other families to morphospecies. Species from the families Lycosidae and Gnaphosidae composed 81% of total adult spider individuals. Most of the significant factors that correlated with spider activity density and richness were local rather than landscape factors. Spider activity density and richness increased with mulch cover and flowering plant species, and decreased with bare soil. Thus, changes in local garden management have the potential to promote diversity of functionally important spiders in urban environments.
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Vol. 44 • No. 4