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Obituary of the famous British arachnologist Dr. Eric Arthur Gerald Duffey (1917-2019).
Arachnology (2019) 18 (1), 47–52 47
On the 10th February 2019, the world arachnological
community received the sad news that the eminent British
arachnologist, ecologist and conservationist Dr Eric Duffey
passed away peacefully in his sleep at the age of 97. Indeed,
he was one of the most elderly living British arachnolo-
gists, standing in a line of such long-lived naturalists and
arachnologists as Jean-Henri Fabre (92, 1823–1915), Pierre
Bonnet (93, 1897–1990), and Alfred Frank Millidge (98,
Eric Duffey was born in Leicester on the 2nd January
1922, from a Swiss father and a Belgian mother. Eric’s
father, Leon Marius Felicien Duffey (1886–1966), was from
a farming family, living in the Vaud mountains, Switzerland.
He entered commerce when he came to England in search
of work in 1911, but loved the countryside and encour-
aged Eric in his interest in natural history. Eric’s mother,
Marcelle Alphonsina Julia van den Bosch (1892–1972), was
a refugee from Antwerp during the First World War. Eric
had two brothers and three sisters, and was the second born.
Only his youngest brother, Fred, survives him.
Eric’s interest in natural history began on family excur-
sions into the Leicestershire countryside, particularly
Charn wood Forest, where his father passed on to him a great
love of trees. As a young teenager, he developed a passion
for birds, and was also fascinated by the diversity of aquatic
life. His rst job on leaving school at 16 was in the Leicester
City Museum where he became adept at mounting birds and
helping in the construction of displays. Realizing that this
was a fairly dead-end job, he joined a team of foresters for
a year, but tree felling in Charnwood Forest was an activity
which he would later deeply regret, when he saw how many
of the ne Leicestershire oak woods had been destroyed
and replaced with conifer plantations. Later, to his credit,
using this unfortunate episode as a starting point, young
Eric undertook a thorough eld study and published his
rst scientic paper devoted to the 11-year succession of
bird populations during the growth of a conifer plantation
(Duffey 1947). While still at the City Museum (1938–1940),
he made enquiries about the formation of a birdwatching
group and, in 1941, became a founder member of the
Leicestershire and Rutland Ornithological Society, still in
existence today with about 600 members.
During World War II, Eric volunteered for the Fleet Air
Arm (FAA) in June 1941 to train as a pilot on aircraft carriers
protecting the North Atlantic eets, and obtained the rank
of Lieutenant in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. He
made good ornithological use of his four-year war service,
recording birds observed while ying, occasionally disap-
pearing from the radar screens much to the annoyance of the
air controllers. His diaries written at that time concentrated
on the birds seen rather than the tactics of ying. He made
contact with an ornithologically minded naval doctor, Surg.
Lt. Neal Rankin, who served on a destroyer protecting the
Arctic convoys. As Bourne (1996: 17) nicely put it, these
“naturalists normally observed their birds over the sights of
a gun”. After the war, he and Rankin compiled a detailed
paper on their joint bird records (Rankin & Duffey 1948).
Eric was discharged from the FAA in July 1945; the ship’s
captain certied that he had served appropriately on HMS
Shrike from 1 September 1944 to 30 July 1945, and had
conducted himself to his entire satisfaction “as a keen and
capable ofcer”. In 1946, Duffey and Rankin helped to
organize the Royal Naval Birdwatching Society, with its
own journal Sea Swallow which started in December 1947
(Bourne 1996). In the following years, Eric published six
papers based on his eld observations on British birds
(Duffey 1950, 1951; Duffey & Creasey 1950, etc.). They
came to the notice of Max Nicholson (1904–2003), the
Director General of the newly formed Nature Conservancy
(now Natural England), a pioneering environmentalist and
keen ornithologist himself, and were perhaps partly instru-
mental in Eric’s appointment in 1952 as its rst Regional
In 1947–1950, he read zoology with botany at Leicester
University College. In 1948, one of his student activities
was to lead an expedition to Bear Island in the Barents Sea
to study birds, terrestrial and marine life (Duffey & Sergeant
1950). During this Arctic eld work, a total of 54 skins of
15 different bird species was collected and deposited in the
Leicester City Museum. After obtaining his B.Sc., Eric went
to Oxford University to study for a Ph.D. at the Bureau of
Animal Population under the direction of Charles Elton
(1900–1991), a prominent zoologist and one of the founders
of animal ecology in Britain, who had the greatest inuence
on his ideas and future research (Sheail 1998). It was Elton
who rst pointed him in the direction of spiders, suggesting
that he went out into the eld to see what might interest him
for his Ph.D. studies (Duffey 1956). Eric was at Oxford in
1950–1952, and continued actively to publish on birds (see
Eric Duffey in his home in King’s Lynn, Norfolk; September 2012. © Dmi-
tri Logunov.
48 Eric Duffey
As an arachnologist, Eric published 99 scientic papers
on spiders, of which over 20 were devoted to faunistics and
taxonomy of British and European spiders, and particu-
larly the spider/invertebrate faunas of Norfolk and Suffolk
(Duffey, Locket & Millidge 1957; Duffey 1959; Duffey
& Morris 1966, etc.), the main areas where his conserva-
tion studies took place. He also published a few papers on
spiders of Spain: e.g., a report on the spider fauna of the Jaca
region (Duffey & Brignoli 1981; Duffey 1983), collected in
1972–1973. A distinctive feature of his faunistic and taxo-
nomic papers is that he always provided detailed data on
habitat preferences of the recorded species, searching for
possible causative factors (moisture, vegetation structure,
and/or microhabitat types, etc.) that could explain their
presence and distribution. From the 1950s to the 1970s,
Eric found and recorded seven spider species that were
new to the British list (Duffey 1953, 1963, 1967; Parker
& Duffey 1963, etc.). Even more importantly, he collected
and described two species new to science: Karita paludosa
(Duffey, 1971) (Linyphiidae) from Ireland (Duffey 1971a:
sub. Carorita p.), and Iberina microphthalma (Snazell &
Duffey, 1980) (Hahniidae) found in chalk grasslands in
Dorset (Snazell & Duffey 1980: sub. Hahnia m.).
A series of Eric’s papers was devoted to aerial dispersal
in spiders, starting from detailed regional observations of
this phenomenon in Berkshire (Duffey 1956) to the factors
inuencing this behaviour (Duffey 1998). He showed that
aerial dispersal seems to be stimulated by overcrowding
and food shortage, but also by physiological factors, among
which thermal conditions during spider development could
be important (see also Bonte 2012).
In his early career, Eric also had a research connection
with the South Atlantic. In 1957, the British Ornithologists’
Union wished to celebrate their 100th anniversary with a
major expedition, and invited members to put forward
suggestions. Eric’s proposal to choose Ascension Island
was accepted and he was able to join the 19-month expe-
dition for three months to study the terrestrial ecology of
the island, while other expedition members concentrated on
the bird life. As a result of this eld work, Eric published a
substantial paper (Duffey 1964a), which provided the rst
comprehensive account on the entire island biota, its history,
and ecology, including checklists of all plant and animal
species recorded from the island to that date (see Ashmole
& Ashmole 1997 for further details). Based on his extensive
invertebrate collections, many new species and genera were
described from Ascension Island (Beier 1960; Cooke 1964;
Ferrara & Taiti 1981; Davis & Mendel 2013, etc.), some
of which were dedicated to Eric: e.g., the ground spider
Prodidomus duffeyi Cooke, 1964 (Gnaphosidae), the pseu-
doscorpion Stenowithius duffeyi Beier, 1960 (Withiidae),
and the terrestrial isopod Niambia duffeyi Ferrara & Taiti,
1981 (Platyarthridae).
Rita and Eric Duffey at the 7th International Congress of Arachnology in
Exeter in 1977. © Torbjörn Kronestedt.
A compliments slip with his signature that Eric Duffey attached to books
or reprints that were sent out to colleagues. © The Manchester Museum.
Eric Duffey at Homer Tunnel, New Zealand; 2004. © Rita Duffey.
D. Logunov 49
named in his honour: Prodidomus duffeyi from Ascension
Island (see above) and Praestigia duffeyi Millidge, 1954
(Linyphiidae), collected from Havergate Island, Suffolk
(Millidge 1954).
Being interested in wildlife and its conservation, Eric felt
that the new Nature Conservancy would be an excellent job
choice and, in 1952, he began working as Regional Ofcer
for East Anglia. Arachnology had to take a back seat while
the difcult task of creating and managing National Nature
Reserves and the scheduling of Sites of Special Scientic
Interest was under way. Eric was awarded the Order of the
British Empire (OBE) for these services in 1962, when
he moved to the Nature Conservancy’s new Monks Wood
Experimental Station, where his reputation as a pioneering
conservation research scientist was established. As head of
the Conservation Research Section he led a team of zool-
ogists and botanists working on the conservation ecology
of grasslands and grass heaths (e.g. Duffey et al. 1974). In
addition to work on grasslands, applied ecological research
carried out by his team included a survey of Scottish sand
dunes prior to drilling investigations (Duffey 1968), and
a study of Birmingham Sewage Works, where employees
were being bitten by spiders when there were mass spider
migrations (Duffey 1975b). From an early age, Eric had real-
ized the importance of historical land use, particularly after
attending lectures on the history of the English landscape
by William Hoskins (1908–1992), and talks with Charles
The discovery of Dolomedes plantarius (Clerck, 1757),
one of Britain’s largest spider species, at Redgrave and
Lopham Fen in 1956 (Duffey 1958, 1960a) was particularly
important. By the 1980s, artesian abstraction had desiccated
the Fen and brought the D. plantarius population to the brink
of extinction. Eric’s campaign for funding for systematic
census work kept the conservation spotlight on this species,
and its adoption by English Nature’s (now Natural England)
new Species Recovery Programme in 1991 was the rst step
on a long road to recovery. This combination of rigorous
census methodology and associated research by various
authors (e.g. Smith 2000; Vugdelic et al. 2003; Duffey
2012) on the autecology and conservation management of
D. plantarius, showed how vital a key species could be in
raising awareness of the importance of “sustained manage-
ment of the right kind”, based on scientic criteria (Sheail
2000: 125), for which Eric always appealed in his conserva-
tion programmes and initiatives (e.g. Duffey 1960b, 1971b).
Despite a signicant output on spider faunistics and
taxonomy, Eric’s main interest in spiders over 60 years
concentrated on their habitats and population ecology, a
eld that attracts very few arachnologists. He published over
30 papers on this topic, starting from population studies of
spiders in limestone grassland (Duffey 1962a,b) at Wytham
Woods near Oxford. Methodologically, Eric’s population
studies of spiders always included a detailed description of
the vegetation structure and its microclimate, because both
parameters inuence the composition of the spider fauna.
In his early works, he followed the habitat classication
proposed by his former supervisor, Charles Elton (Elton
& Miller 1954), but later developed his own classication
based “on ecologically signicant features relevant to
spiders” (Duffey 2010: 2), specially for the British fauna.
In his ecological work on spiders, he paid special attention
to historical factors, particularly in the context of man-mod-
ied or articial environments such as sewage treatment
works (Duffey 1975a, 1993, 1997, etc.). Research on the
history of land use is crucial for selecting suitable strate-
gies for conservation of a chosen site, because changes
in management may have contributed to its uniqueness.
Examples include the Norfolk Broads (Duffey 1964a) or
heathlands whose distinctive wildlife cannot be conserved
without appropriate management (Sheail 2000). In order to
draw other arachnologists’ attention to ecological studies,
Eric published a series of papers describing standardized
sampling and recording methods (e.g. Duffey 1972) and
even organized a general discussion on the methodology
of ecological spider research during the Tenth International
Arachnological Congress in Spain (Duffey 1986), in which
16 colleagues from eight countries participated. Some of
the sampling methods advocated by Eric were quite novel
for that time; for instance, vacuum sampling of grassland
spiders (Duffey 1974a, 1980). Eric’s advocacy of the crit-
ical importance of quantitative sampling in arachnology
was pioneering—and something that we still struggle to
achieve! In a nal effort to encourage others to take up the
eld of spider ecology, in 2016 he submitted a number of
his published papers to the University of Leicester, and was
awarded a D.Sc.
In recognition of Eric’s impressive contribution to spider
taxonomy and especially ecology, two new species were
Eric Duffey working at Redgrave and Lopham Fen, Norfolk, in the 1970s.
© David Orr.
50 Eric Duffey
science (Sheail 2000). Eric undertook two tours of European
national parks and nature reserves in thirteen countries (in
the late 1960s and 1970s) and a trip to Australia (in 1989) to
study different practices in conservation research and their
implementation (Duffey 1982). This gave him a wide range
of contacts which he used for developing a broad interna-
tional outlook for the journal. In 1992, he took on the role
of Editor-in-Chief, nally handing over the reins in 1997 to
the English editor, Brian Davis. He also wrote a number of
books and articles on wildlife ecology (e.g. Duffey 1974b).
In 1997, Eric and his wife Rita decided to move to the
Limousin in France, attracted by the more abundant wildlife
and the temptation of y-shing (one of his great loves) in
his own lake. He thoroughly surveyed the spider fauna of
the 8 ha of his land and was one of the main contributors
of new faunistic records to the recently published book
on spiders of the French Limousin region (see Cruveillier
2014: 15). Eric also met Marcel Cruveillier, the author of
that book, to discuss the foundation of a French arachno-
logical society. This came to fruition in 2006 as the Associ-
ation Française d’Arachnologie (AsFrA), with 28 founding
members, which now numbers 102, with an active website
forum. In 2016, AsFrA made Eric its rst honorary member.
He was also an honorary member of the British Arachnolog-
ical Society and the International Society of Arachnology
and, in 1993, was elected as an active member of the Amer-
ican Academy of Sciences. Eric was a past President of the
Elton at Oxford. He felt this to be vital to understanding
nature reserve management, and was the rst to appoint a
historical geographer to his team. Another concept he devel-
oped was that of recreational ecology: the effect of human
leisure activities on the natural environment. The impact
of human activity was paramount in the fens and marshes
of the Norfolk and Suffolk Broads (Duffey 1964b). During
Eric’s time as Regional Ofcer for East Anglia, the Broads
were discovered by Joyce Lambert (1916–2005) to have
been man-made peat cuttings (Lambert & Smith 1960), now
in danger after some 600 years of natural inlling. In addi-
tion to consultations with water authorities and commercial
interests to devise suitable management, Eric organized an
in-depth study of these wetlands with a group of arachnolo-
gists in the 1970s (Duffey & Feest 2009).
In 1974, Eric was invited to become the editor of Biolog-
ical Conservation, a journal that was started by Nicholas
Vladimir Polunin (1909–1997) in 1967. He willingly took
on the task and edited the journal single-handed with the
professional assistance of his wife Rita for 15 years. This
was a labour of love for both of them. Under Eric’s editor-
ship, the journal grew considerably (from four to 12 issues
per year) and allowed him to appoint an Associate Editor
for American papers in 1989. Running the journal was a
wonderful chance for Eric to promote conservation-oriented
research both in the UK and throughout the world, making
the journal a truly international medium for conservation
Eric Duffey with colleagues from the British Arachnological Society at the AGM, a trip to Orford Ness in Suffolk, June 1994. From left to right: Jonathan
Daws, John Stanney, Rita Duffey, Eric Duffey, Paul Lee, Chris Spilling, Rod Allison, Deborah Procter, Rowley Snazell, Doug Marriott, and David Nellist.
© David Nellist.
D. Logunov 51
BREITLING, R. 2018: Eric Duffey’s spider collection in the Manchester
Museum – an update. Newsletter of the British Arachnological
Society 141: 5–9.
BREITLING, R. & BAUER, T. 2015: Remarks on synonymy of European
Larinioides species (Arachnida : Araneae : Araneidae). Arachnology
16: 305–310.
CRUVEILLIER, M. 2014: Des araignées en Limousin. Présentation de
trente années et de prospections. Annales Scientiques du Limousin
25: 1–348.
DUFFEY, E. 1947: The change in bird-life during the growth of a
Charnwood conifer plantation. Leicestershire & Rutland County
Report of Wild Birds 1946: 9–13.
DUFFEY, E. 1950: Non-breeding in the Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis. The
Scottish Naturalist 62: 111–121.
DUFFEY, E. 1951: Field studies on the Fulmar Fulmarus glacialis. Ibis
93: 237–245.
DUFFEY, E. 1953: On a lycosid spider new to Britain and two rare spiders
taken near Oxford. Annals and Magazine of Natural History,
decade 12 6: 149–157.
DUFFEY, E. 1956a: An ecological study of the spiders (Araneae)
communities in limestone grassland. Ph.D. thesis, University of
DUFFEY, E. 1956b: Aerial dispersal in a known spider population. Journal
of Animal Ecology 25: 85–111.
DUFFEY, E. 1958: Dolomedes plantarius Clerck, a spider new to Britain,
found in the upper Waveney Valley. Transactions of the Norfolk &
Norwich Naturalists’ Society 18: 1–5.
DUFFEY, E. 1959: Spiders from Redgrave, Lopham and Hopton fens in the
Waveney and little Ouse Valleys. Suffolk Naturalists’ Transactions
12: 31–38.
DUFFEY, E. 1960a: A further note on Dolomedes plantarius Clerck
in the Waveney Valley. Transactions of the Norfolk & Norwich
Naturalists’ Society 19: 173–176.
DUFFEY, E. 1960b: The scientic management of national nature reserves.
Handbook and Annual Report of the Society for the Promotion of
Nature Reserves: 1–10.
DUFFEY, E. 1962a: A population study of spiders in limestone grassland.
Description of study area, sampling methods and population
characteristics. Journal of Animal Ecology 31: 571–599.
DUFFEY, E. 1962b: A population study of spiders in limestone grassland.
The eld-layer fauna. Oikos 13: 15–34.
DUFFEY, E. 1963: Carorita limnaea (Crosby & Bishop), a linyphiid
spider new to Britain, from Wybunbury moss, Cheshire. Annals and
Magazine of Natural History, decade 13 6: 573–576.
DUFFEY, E. 1964a: The terrestrial ecology of Ascension Island. Journal of
Applied Ecology 1: 219–251.
DUFFEY, E. (ed.) 1964b: The Norfolk Broads. A regional study of
wildlife conservation in a wetland area of high tourist attraction.
In Proceedings of the MAR Conference, IUCN, ICBP and IWRB.
IUCN Publications New Series 3: 209–301.
DUFFEY, E. 1967: Wideria stylifrons (O. P.-C.), a southern European
spider from the Norfolk Breckland. Transactions of the Norfolk &
Norwich Naturalists’ Society 21: 25–31.
DUFFEY, E. 1968: An ecological analysis of the spider fauna of sand
dunes. Journal of Animal Ecology 37: 641–674.
DUFFEY, E. 1971a: Carorita paludosa n. sp., a new linyphiid spider from
Ireland and eastern England. Bulletin of the British Arachnological
Society 2: 14–15.
DUFFEY, E. 1971b: The management of Woodwalton Fen: a
multidisciplinary approach. In E. Duffey & A. S. Watt (eds.),
The scientic management of animal and plant communities for
conservation, Oxford: Blackwell Scientic Publications: 581–597.
DUFFEY, E. 1972: Ecological survey and the arachnologist. Bulletin of the
British Arachnological Society 2: 69–82.
DUFFEY, E. 1974a: Comparative sampling methods for grassland spiders.
Bulletin of the British Arachnological Society 3: 34–37.
DUFFEY, E. 1974b: Nature reserves and wildlife. London: Heinemann
Educational Books.
DUFFEY, E. 1975a: Habitat selection by spiders in man-made
environments. Proceedings of the 6th International Arachnological
Congress, Amsterdam, 1974: 53–67.
DUFFEY, E. 1975b: A linyphiid spider biting workers on a sewage-
treatment plant. Bulletin of the British Arachnological Society 3:
Norfolk and Norwich Naturalists’ Society (1957–1958),
the British Arachnological Society (1971–1972), the Inter-
national Society of Arachnology (1971–1974), and the
British Ecological Society and Secretary of its Council
Throughout all his professional life, Eric collected
spiders and undertook many arachnological eld trips, both
within the UK and abroad. He assembled a large spider
collection, which is now deposited in the Manchester
Museum, as is his archive (223 items, mostly correspond-
ence). When rst donated to the Museum in 2011, the spider
collection contained 138 jars with about 5700 sample tubes,
representing some 560 British and 110 overseas species
(Logunov 2011), together with over 70 jars (some 300
samples) with unsorted and undetermined material from the
Balkans, France, and Spain (Breitling 2018). The collection
was in perfect order, thanks to meticulous curatorial work
by Eric’s wife and trusted companion, Rita. All samples in
this collection are clearly labelled and rich in data, including
detailed habitat information; and all identied samples are
also documented in an electronic database. To date, the
identied part of Eric’s collection has been fully re-curated
and amalgamated with the Museum’s main spider collec-
tion. The undetermined material is still under re-curation
and review, with several scientic papers based upon it
already published (Breitling & Bauer 2015; Breitling 2018)
while others are in preparation. There are also some 20 jars
of unsorted and undetermined British spider material (from
Royston, Hertfordshire: 1973–1975, and later years).
Eric is survived by Rita, his wife of 50 years, his son
Malcolm, daughter Christine, and grandchildren William,
Sophie and James. For fellow arachnologists and a wider
scientic community, Eric Duffey will always be remem-
bered as a pioneer innovator who established a golden
standard on how to approach, scrutinize and resolve scien-
tic and administrative challenges, whether related to spider
taxonomy, conservation science, or both.
I wish to thank sincerely Eric’s widow, Rita Duffey,
for sharing the biographic information on Eric with me,
for answering lots of my questions about him and his life
and for her massive help with the transfer of Eric’s spider
collection and archive to the Manchester Museum. I am also
grateful to John Sheail, Anthony Russell-Smith and Helen
Smith for their comments, helpful suggestions and linguistic
help during the preparation of this obituary.
Dmitri V. Logunov
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52 Eric Duffey
DUFFEY, E. 1980: The efciency of the Dietrich vacuum sampler
(D-VAC) for invertebrate population studies in different types of
grasslands. Bulletin d’Ecologie 11: 421–431.
DUFFEY, E. 1982: National parks and reserves in western Europe.
London: MacDonald.
DUFFEY, E. 1983: Nota preliminar sobre Arañas del alto Aragón
Occidental. Pirinetos 118: 41–48.
DUFFEY, E. 1986: Distribution patterns of arachnids in time and space and
their ecological signicance. Actas X Congress Int. Arachnology
Jaca, España II: 47–53.
DUFFEY, E. 1993: A review of factors inuencing the distribution of
spiders with special reference to Britain. Memoirs of the Queensland
Museum 33: 497–502.
DUFFEY, E. 1997: Spider adaptation to articial biotopes: the fauna of
percolating lter beds in a sewage treatment works. Journal of
Applied Ecology 34: 1190–1202.
DUFFEY, E. 1998: Aerial dispersal in spiders. In P. A. Selden (ed.),
Proceedings of the 17th European Colloquium of Arachnology,
Edinburgh 1997. Burnham Beeches, Bucks.: British Arachnological
Society: 187–191.
DUFFEY, E. 2010: Spider habitat classication and the development of
habitat proles. Bulletin of the British Arachnological Society 15:
DUFFEY, E. 2012: Dolomedes plantarius (Clerck, 1787) Araneae,
Pisauridae): a reassessment of its ecology and distribution in
Europe, with comments on its history at Redgrave and Lopham
Fen, England. Bulletin of the British Arachnological Society 15:
DUFFEY, E. & BRIGNOLI, P. M. 1981: Two rare spiders from he Spanish
Pyrenees (prov. Huesca). Bulletin of the British Arachnological
Society 5: 155–158.
DUFFEY, E. & CREASEY, N. 1950: The “rodent-run” distraction-
behaviour of certain waders. Part 1. – Field observations on the
Purple Sandpiper. Ibis 92: 27–33.
DUFFEY, E. & FEEST, A. 2009: A comparative ecological study of the
spider (Araneae) fauna of East Anglian fens, England: regional
differences and conservation. Bulletin of the British Arachnological
Society 14: 317–333.
DUFFEY, E., LOCKET, G. H. & MILLIDGE, A. F. 1957: The spider
fauna of the heaths and fens in West Suffolk. Suffolk Naturalists’
Transactions 10(3): 1–11.
DUFFEY, E. & MORRIS, M. G. 1966: III. – The invertebrate fauna of the
Chalk and its scientic interest. Handbook of the Society for the
Promotion of Nature Reserves: 1–12,
D. A. & WELLS, T. C. E. 1974: Grassland ecology and wildlife
management. London: Chapman & Hall.
DUFFEY, E. & SERGEANT, D. E. 1950: Field notes on the birds of Bear
Island. Ibis 92: 554–565.
ELTON, C. S. & MILLER, R. S. 1954: The ecological survey of animal
communities: with a practical system of classifying habitats by
structural characters. Journal of Ecology 42: 460–496.
LAMBERT, J. M. & SMITH, C. T. 1960: The Norfolk Broads as man-
made features. New Scientist 31/3/60.
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Museum. Newsletter of the British Arachnological Society 122: 8.
MILLIDGE, A. F. 1954: On a new species and genus of spider. Annals and
Magazine of Natural History, decade 12 7: 253–256.
PARKER, J. R. & DUFFEY, E. 1963: Notes on the genus Maro O.P.-C.
(Araneae). Annals and Magazine of Natural History, decade 13 6:
RANKIN, M. N. & DUFFEY, E. 1948: A study of the bird life of the North
Atlantic, 1948. British Birds 4 (Supplement): 1–42.
SHEAIL, J. 1998: Nature conservation in Britain: the formative years.
London: Stationery Ofce.
SHEAIL, J. 2000: Eric Duffey – an appreciation. Biological Conservation
95: 123–128.
SMITH, H. 2000: The status and conservation of the fen raft spider
(Dolomedes plantarius) at redgrave and Lopham Fen National
Nature Reserve, England. Biological Conservation 95: 153–164.
SNAZELL, R. & DUFFEY, E. 1980: A new species of Hahnia (Araneae,
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The importance of landscape history is stressed, in fragmenting ancient natural habitats and creating new ones. This has reduced the number of specialists and allowed a range expansion of pioneer and euryoecious species. A tentative classification of life strategies is proposed. Habitat diversity and microspatial distribution are discussed with examples. -from Author
Summary The definition of the habitat characteristics of spider species is an essential part of arachnid ecology. In this paper the method of developing habitat profiles from histograms of the number of records of occurrence for each habitat category (Hänggi et al., 1995) has been followed. Those authors used published records from a wide range of sources, mainly in central Europe but also elsewhere. This paper argues that clearer and more precise profiles could be obtained by using data from each individual country so that comparisons of habitat preferences can be made between different geographical regions. The abundant data in the Spider Recording Scheme of the British Arachnological Society (Harvey et al., 2002) make this possible for Britain, but it is not known whether the same amount of information is available in other European countries. An investigation of the latitudinal differences in habitat preferences in Britain was made by dividing the country into three regions: South England, North England and Scotland. A 21-category habitat classification was designed to represent the British landscape. Habitat profiles were prepared for several species in each of the three areas. In most cases habitat differences were recorded. Interpretation of these differences and the possible errors which have to be taken into account are discussed. To do science is to search for repeated patterns, not simply to accumulate facts, and to do the science of geographical ecology is to search for patterns of plant and animal life that can be put in a map. Robert H. MacArthur (1984)
1. A description and vegetation analysis is given for a small area of limestone grassland by Wytham Wood, Berkshire. Three sampling areas are distinguished whose spider fauna was studied: (1) a Brachypodium pinnatum sward; (2) an area consisting mainly of Festuca rubra; and (3) a sparse and diverse vegetation on loose Coral Rag limestone. 2. Collecting and sampling methods are described including a platform temperature-gradient apparatus designed to extract the spider fauna from vegetation quadrat samples. 3. The dense Festuca turf supported more spiders (up to 841.9/m2) than Brachypodium, and both recorded higher population densities than the more varied vegetation on the Coral Rag limestone. The most uniform vegetation (Brachypodium) recorded the lowest mean number of species; the highest number was recorded on the Coral Rag where floristic diversity was greatest. 4. The proportion of adults in the spider population was never more than 48% during the year, being highest in the winter and lowest in late summer (