Ohio Spider Survey: Introduction

Ohio Spider Survey

“an effort to learn about spider diversity and ecology in Ohio”

Mission & Goals of the Ohio Spider Survey

The mission of the Ohio Spider Survey is to enhance our understanding of spiders in Ohio.

Implementation of this mission will be through pursuit of the following goals:

  • Promote public education about spider biology and the importance of spiders to healthy ecosystems.
  • Conduct surveys of spiders throughout Ohio to determine the status and distribution of spider species in the state.
  • Develop resource materials, in a variety of media, for dissemination of information about spiders. This will include, although not be restricted to; print media, Internet, newsletters, books and pamphlets.
  • Create and expand a database of spider records including those of voucher specimens, photographic records, and visual reports from schools, museums and private collections.
  • Create a clearinghouse for information about spiders that is available to the public.
  • Expand and maintain the Ohio Spider Collection. This collection is the Araneae of The Ohio State University Entomology Collection, Chelicerates section, currently housed at the Museum of Biodiversity, 1315 Kinnear Road, Columbus, Ohio.

Rationale

No state-wide survey of spider diversity in Ohio has been published since Dr. William M. Barrows’ work between 1918 and 1924. Dr. Barrows was a Professor of Zoology and Entomology at Ohio State way back when the two departments were one.

photo of William Barrows

William Morton Barrows

His inventory was incomplete, and is now seriously out-of-date; for example, Barrows lists fewer than one-half of the currently-recognized species likely present in Ohio. The Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife provided funding for a new survey of spiders in our state through the Do Something Wild! state income tax check-off program. ┬áThe survey was funded through this program between 1994 and 2010. Additional “small grant” funding from The Ohio State University at Marion was provided during the same period.

The aim of the current Ohio Spider Survey is to fill the major gap in our understanding of natural spider communities in Ohio. The first phase of this project was a survey of already-existing collections of spiders, as well as a review of published Ohio records. During the second phase, participants collected systematic samples at a number of representative sites. Eventually collections from all major habitat types across the state were made.

Such an ambitious project necessitated the involvement of many volunteers. The primary collecting phase of this survey is now complete. We are not soliciting large numbers of new specimens at this time. We hope to publish a summary of the results to date in the near future (within two years). At the time of this writing the Ohio Spider Survey database includes information on over 41,000 individual spiders. Even though the major collecting phase is over, We will still accept spider specimens, particularly if they include full data (date, exact location, habitat). If you are interested in contributing specimens, or good quality photographs to this effort, please feel free to contact me:

Dr. Richard A. Bradley, Associate Professor Emeritus
Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology
1315 Kinnear Road. Columbus, OH 43212