Spiders of Kerala Agricultural University Campus, Thrissur, Kerala, India


C.K. Adarsh 1 & P.O. Nameer 2


1,2 Centre for Wildlife Sciences, College of Forestry, Kerala Agricultural University, Thrissur, Kerala 680656, India

1 adarshckcof09@gmail.com, 2 nameer.po@kau.in (corresponding author)





doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.11609/jott.2468.7.15.8288-8295 | ZooBank: urn:lsid:zoobank.org:pub:3DD586EA-3E28-468D-A44A-59929F0EBA6D


Editor: M. Ganesh Kumar, TNAU, Coimbatore, India. Date of publication: 26 December 2015 (online & print)



Manuscript details: Ms # o4148 | Received 09 September 2014 | Final received 30 July 2015 | Finally accepted 10 December 2015


Citation: Adarsh, C.K. & P.O. Nameer (2015). Spiders of Kerala Agricultural University Campus, Thrissur, Kerala, India. Journal of Threatened Taxa 7(15): 8288–8295; http://dx.doi.org/10.11609/jott.2468.7.15.8288-8295


Copyright: © Adarsh & Nameer 2015. Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. JoTT allows unrestricted use of this article in any medium, reproduction and distribution by providing adequate credit to the authors and the source of publication.


Funding: Kerala Agricultural University.


Conflict of Interest: The authors declare no competing interests.


Acknowledgements: We thank Dr. A.V. Sudhikumar, for the help in confirming the identity of the spiders. We thank the Dean, College of Forestry for the encouragement and support and R. Sreehari for preparing the map used in this paper. We thank the anonymous reviewers, Subject Editor and Chief Editor for their critical comments and suggestions.





Spiders are one of the most fascinating and diverse invertebrate animals in the world. A total of 44,540 species of spiders belonging to 3,924 genera of 112 families have been described all over the world (Platnick 2014). A total of 2,299 species of spiders under 67 families have been reported from South Asia (Siliwal et al. 2005), of which, from India 1,442 species in 59 families were reported (Siliwal & Molur 2007).

Very little documentation has been done on spider diversity of Kerala. Some of the published studies on the spiders of Kerala are those by Sudhikumar et al. (2005a,b), Sebastian et al. (2005), and Jose et al. (2008). The present study was done on the spiders in the Kerala Agricultural University main campus in Kerala, southern India.



Study Area

The Kerala Agricultural University (KAU) main campus is located at Vellanikkara, Thrissur District, Kerala (Fig.1). The area lies between 10032’–10033’N & 76016’–76017’E and is located very close to the Peechi-Vazhani Wildlife Sanctuary, Western Ghats. The campus has a total area of 391.44ha and the major habitats include garden lands, botanical garden, plantations of rubber, coconut, plantain, cocoa and orchards of mango, jack, sapota and guava. KAU campus enjoys a moderate climate. The 10-year mean minimum temperature is 23.30C and 10-year mean maximum is 31.80C. The area receives both the south-west and north-east monsoons; the greater portion of the rainfall, however is received from the south-west monsoon between June and September. The mean annual rainfall is 2763mm. The mean number of rainy days per year is 110 days (KAU Weather Station 2010).





The study was conducted from March 2012 to April 2013. The microhabitats that are likely to support the spiders in the study area such as ground, litter, undergrowth, bushes, tree trunks, foliage, and water bodies were searched for spiders. When a spider was located, it was photographed and collected by the hand picking method suggested by Tikader (1987). The identification of spiders was done with the help of Tikader (1970, 1977, 1980, 1982, 1987), Koh (1996), Murphy & Murphy (2000), and Sebastian & Peter (2009). The taxonomy and nomenclature followed is as per the world spider catalogue by Platnick (2014).



Result and Discussion

Eighty-six species, of 56 genera under 20 families of spiders were documented during the study (Table 1). Araneidae was the dominant family with 18 species from nine genera and was followed by the family Salticidae which was represented by 14 species of 13 genera (Fig. 2). Out of 252 endemic species of spiders in India (Siliwal et al. 2005), 16 have been reported from the KAU campus.

The feeding guild structure analysis of the spiders revealed seven types of feeding guilds (Uetz et al. 1999). Orb-web builders was the dominant feeding guild with 34% of the total reported spiders (Fig. 3), followed by stalkers (22%), ground runners (20%), ambushers (9%), scattered line weavers (8%), foliage runners (6%) and sheet-web builders (1%).









The present study reiterates the significance of KAU main campus in conserving the biodiversity of the region. Earlier studies on the fauna of KAU main campus had reported 135 species of birds (Nameer et al. 2000), 139 species of butterflies (Aneesh et al. 2013) and 52 species of odonates (Adarsh et al. 2014). This is quite significant and thus emphasizes the importance of university campuses in biodiversity conservation.





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