We know that the familiar big animals like lions or polar bears specialize on large terrains of habitat like African savannahs or Arctic ice, but perhaps most people don't realize that smaller creatures specialize at a much smaller scale. To a small spider, a tree trunk is a vast expanse of habitat. There are species of jumping spider that live only on tree trunks, while others live only on the leaves of bushes and trees.

This means that to find a diversity of spider species, you have to think at their scale. If you've already collected on tree trunks with rough bark, try the smooth trunks covered with moss -- maybe a different species lives there. What about those epiphytic plants growing on the tree branches? They are big enough to hold tiny spiders. Vertical surfaces, horizontal surfaces; moist, dry; decomposing, fresh -- each small piece of a forest can provide different living conditions that might just suit a different species. A forest is hundreds of habitats for spiders.

Hundreds of different habitats

Hundreds of different habitats

Previously in this series:

Spiders in Borneo: Introduction

Spiders in Borneo: Undiscovered biodiversity

Spiders in Borneo: The guests of honor: Salticidae

Spiders in Borneo: Team Salticid

Spiders in Borneo: Mulu National Park

Spiders in Borneo: Dreaming about salticid spiders

Text and images © W. Maddison, under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license (CC-BY)