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The Ohio Spider Survey is an effort to find out how many species of spiders live in Ohio. The original list of Ohio Spiders was published by William Barrows in 1924 and included 306 species. The current project began in 1994 and the list of spider species known for Ohio has now reached over 583. There are probably many more species yet to be discovered. The aim of the Ohio Spider Survey is to fill the major gap in our understanding of natural spider communities in Ohio.
Why a survey of spiders?
1. Spiders are the most numerous and probably the most important predators of insect pests.
2. The variety of spiders is large enough to provide a sensitive measure of the health of ecological communities. There are probably between 600 and 700 species occurring in Ohio.
3. Spiders are found everywhere, and thus could provide comparative data from all sites. Sufficient samples of spiders can be collected for documentation of distribution and ecological patterns without damage to their populations.
4. Spiders are relatively easy to collect using standard methods, and novice spider collectors canbe trained relatively easily. Collections require a minimal amount of space and are simple and inexpensive to curate when compared to other taxa (e.g. pinned insects, vertebrate skins).
A survey of Ohio is an ambitious project and will necessarily involve much volunteer effort. I would welcome any donations of spider specimens from Ohio, and I am particularly interested in receiving specimens that include basic data (collector, habitat, date and locality). Specimens may be collected directly into 70% ethyl alcohol. Isopropyl (rubbing) alcohol can be used, but is less desirable for a number of reasons. The collections will be permanently housed at the Museum of Biodiversity, Ohio State University. In addition, good quality close-up color slides would also be of assistance. Many spider species cannot be determined from photographs, but slides could be used in public-education projects associated with the survey. If you are interested in contributing specimens, slides or your time to this effort; please feel free to contact me.
Department of EEO Biology
Ohio State University, Marion
1465 Mt. Vernon Ave.
Marion, OH 43302
The Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife has provided funding for a survey of spiders in our state through the state's income tax check-off program, donations made in memoriam, and the sale of conservation license plates.
Collecting Spiders in Ohio
The Ohio Division of Wildlife has no general permit requirements for collecting spiders in Ohio. The Division does require that the collector obtain permission (preferably in writing) from the landowner before collecting. When collecting on public land this would involve contacting the public agency responsible for the area. This is particularly important if you may be collecting in ODNR Natural Areas and Nature Preserves or Ohio State Parks. Some of these areas are closed to collecting and others will require a specific permit. You should feel free to mention the Ohio Spider Survey in your request to a landowner/agency if that will help you convince them that the collections are for a legitimate scientific purpose.