Date of Award

Spring 5-11-2012

Degree Type

Honors College Thesis


Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Aimée K. Thomas

Advisor Department

Biological Sciences


Currently there is little literature on what arachnids inhabit the tropics of Central America, especially within the country of Belize. This study aimed to find which spider species are found in riparian areas within the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary in central Belize and to distinguish trends among spiders and the microhabitats in which they live. Nocturnal samples were predicted to have greater diversity than diurnal samples at all sites. Pisauridae, Salticidae, and Lycosidae were predicted to be the most common spider families collected. Specimens were collected from three riparian sites located on trails within Cockscomb. Diurnal and nocturnal samples were obtained using hand collecting techniques. Abiotic information including temperature, humidity, and elevation were also recorded. Spider specimens were preserved and later identified to family and (when possible) genus and species. Results showed patterns in spider families among the sample sites as well as between diurnal and nocturnal samples. At all sample sites nocturnal collections yielded higher abundance and diversity of specimens than diurnal samplings. Pisauridae, Ctenidae, and Sparassidae were the three most common spider families collected. At least three specimens were spiders undescribed in Cockscomb and possibly Belize. Differences in the amount of water versus the amount of leaf litter at each site probably had the greatest influence on differences in the number and diversity of spiders collected.

Included in

Biology Commons