Time to conquer your arachnophobia and delve into the wonderful world of spiders. This is a taxon that has interested me for as long as I can remember, intrinsically, as a significant control of insect populations, and as an important source of food for many birds.
Spiders are found on every continent except Antarctica, and vary incredibly in size, form, colour and lifestyle. Most are benign, but some pack a forceful dose of venom, and the threat posed by female Black Widow Spiders lurking in outhouses, is the stuff of folklore and legend! Much has also been made of the propensity of female spiders to eat their suitors once mating is consummated. Did you know that Australian tarantulas are capable of seizing and consuming Cane Toads?
Do I have your attention?
This book is a compendium of everything you could possibly wish to know about spiders, accompanied by a stunning array of high quality colour photographs. It starts with a thorough review of spider anatomy with diagrams and incredible images of details revealed only under a microscope. It is a breathtaking journey through a world hitherto unknown to virtually all of us.
What then follows is exceptional coverage of over a hundred spider families, presented taxonomically. It is illuminating to contemplate that there are more than 48,000 species of spiders in 4,000 genera and 115 families! These accounts are highlighted by beautiful colour photographs, depicting a range of lifestyle and habitat. The pictorial coverage benefits greatly from the availability of digital cameras and I think it is safe to say that many of the photographs represent activities seldom, if ever, shown before.
Each family account is accompanied by a range map, and brief notes pinpointing the genus, distribution, habitat, and a summary of characteristics. I find this an incredibly pleasing device, showing very conscientious editing, with a view to making the book as useful to the reader as possible.
The book concludes with a comprehensive glossary and recommendations for further reading.
From the first page to the last this book is a tour de force. I recommend it highly.
Spiders of the World - A Natural History
Norman I. Platnick
US$29.95 - 9780691188850 - 240 pages - 6.5 in. x 9.5 in.
Publication date: 09 June 2020