Credit: Ian Redding/Getty

The interiors of homes in affluent neighbourhoods host a wider diversity of insects and spiders than do those in less wealthy areas.

Neighbourhoods with a high income often have a higher diversity of plants and certain animals, such as birds, than other areas. To find out whether this 'luxury effect' extends indoors, Misha Leong at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco and her colleagues sampled all arthropods — living and dead — including insects (pictured is Sciara hemerobioides), spiders and millipedes, inside 50 homes in and around Raleigh, North Carolina. They found that arthropod diversity increased with house size and diversity of surrounding vegetation, and were surprised to find a strong influence of average neighbourhood income, too.

Affluence could be affecting arthropod diversity through urban planning and landscaping at the neighbourhood level.

Biol. Lett. 12, 20160322 (2016)