Venusta Orchard Spider
A venusta orchard spider  tends its web at Cold Harbor

(NPS Photo)

Insects, spiders, centipedes, and millipedes along with several other animal classes comprise the phylum Arthropoda. Arthropods represent one of the most rich and diverse aspects of Richmond National Battlefield Park fauna. Although most arthropods are easily overlooked when enjoying the natural beauty of the park, their impact on the ecosystem can not be.

From honeybees and swallowtail butterflies pollinating wild flowers to wolf spiders hunting along the forest floor, arthropods fill many niches critical in maintaining the natural environment. Certain insect species, known as decomposers, are the park's most active recyclers. These species are the first step in the critical process of breaking down organic matter and returning nutrients to the soil. Many flowering plant species rely on insects for transportation of pollen and fertilization.

Although the sounds of crickets chirping in a field or cicadas humming in the trees may be a visitor's most obvious contact with arthropods at Richmond National Battlefield Park, it is important to keep in mind the critical role of these species in supporting the park ecosystem.


Last updated: March 16, 2016

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