Advances in Legume Research: Physiological Responses and Genetic Improvement for Stress Resistance

Effect of Spider Diversity and Abundance in Legume Agroecosystems

Author(s): Mokgadi Asnath Modiba*, Sinorita Chauke and Yolette Belinda Rapelang Nyathi

Pp: 95-110 (16)

DOI: 10.2174/9789815165319123020010

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


An agroecosystem refers to a complex system comprising a couple of different interacting factors, involving species, ecological, and management processes. This system contains lesser species diversity of both plants and animals than a natural ecosystem. The variation in species of plants and insects is critically important to serve as a complex food chain and web whose interactions function to stabilise this ecological unit. However, among the groups of herbivores and predators found in agroecosystems, spiders play a key role in most crop fields by preying on a variety of pests. Besides this, the current pace of research on this subject shows that the role of spiders in regulating pest species and serving as potential biological control agents has been largely ignored. So far, information on agricultural spider communities, diversity and their role as biological pesticides remain scant in various parts of the world with the exception of countries such as the United States of America, Australia, and some parts of the Middle East Asia. Thus, this chapter outlines the most relevant information on the diversity, abundance and effect of arthropodous spiders on agroecosystems, particularly those that are involved in the cultivation of legume crop species. The paper also discusses current relevant threats to spiders, conservation measures, the threat of species extinction, and the role that these arthropods play in agriculture, especially by reducing the growth and productivity of species such as soybean (Glycine max L.) and cowpea (Vigna unguiculata).

Keywords: Crop yield, Disease management, Legumes, Plant virus, Viral morphology, Infection biology.

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