Insects and spiders on snowfields in the Cairngorms, Scotland - NMS Research Repository
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Journal article

Insects and spiders on snowfields in the Cairngorms, Scotland



An account is given of seven collections of insects and spiders made in summer 1979 on snowfields above 1100m elevation in the Cairngorm mountains, Scotland. In one comprehensive collection 278 recently deposited animals representing 35 species were obtained in 25 m2; the other collections were selective. A high proportion of the roughly 700 specimens obtained have been identified. They represent at least 130 species, including 12 species of Araneae and 34 species each of Coleoptera, Hymenoptera and Diptera. Only 10 species are known to be restricted to 'montane' environments and it is concluded that the composition of fallout on mountain snowfields, both in Britain and elsewhere, reflects mainly the nature of the vegetation, and thus of the insect communities, in upwind areas at lower elevations. The discussion concerns the significance of fallout as a resource for high altitude communities and as a manifestation of long-distance migration and potential gene flow among populations of terrestrial arthropods.


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