With more than 100 different families and 40,000 individual species, spiders are among the most successful creatures on Earth. Highly adaptable, they live almost everywhere, from equatorial rainforest to Arctic tundra. And they come in a huge range of shapes and sizes, from the tiny Patu digua, measuring less than half a millimeter, to the immense bird-eating tarantula, which can reach a span of eleven inches. In The Private Life of Spiders, spider expert Paul Hillyard takes the reader on a fascinating and richly illustrated tour of the lives of some of the world's most remarkable spiders.
The Private Life of Spiders reveals the intriguing behaviors of these complex creatures, from their extraordinary web-spinning skills and hunting strategies to their courtship displays and devoted care for their young. The book also describes other surprising skills of some spiders, such as the ability to cross vast stretches of open water.
Written in an engaging style, The Private Life of Spiders also looks at why people are scared of spiders, explains why such fear is generally misplaced, and shows why more needs to be done to protect endangered spiders.
- Features spiders from a vast range of habitats around the world
- Includes more than 100 stunning color photographs that capture the beauty and diversity of spiders
- Covers spider anatomy, behavior, reproduction, social organization, and hunting and web construction techniques
Paul Hillyard is a leading authority on spiders and a former curator at London's Natural History Museum. His previous books include Spiders and The Book of the Spider: From Arachnophobia to the Love of Spiders.
"Hillyard is a true spider devotee, and he cheerfully informs us that there is no escape from his subject. . . . The Private Life of Spiders is a stroll through their largely hidden world, highlighting the most spectacular, unusual, and instructive of the eight-legged brethren. After a brief overview of spider evolution and biology, Hillyard launches into the meat of his subject-a sweeping overview of spider diversity, commencing with those species whose habits and bodies are the most primitive, and culminating with those paragons of arachnid evolution, the elegant orb-weavers."--Tim Flannery, New York Review of Books
"Arachnophobes will want to stay far away from this lavishly illustrated introduction. Hillyard, a spider expert at the Natural History Museum in London, takes a gorgeous look at one of the most successful groups of animals. Spiders can be found almost anywhere and will eat almost anything they can catch. In conversational prose that engages the reader in the intricacies of spider ecology, Hillyard explains the two major spider lifestyles (those that actively hunt and those that spin webs), discusses silk production and all the uses spiders make of silk, mating and resulting young, venom, sociality, and spiders and humans. . . . The more than 100 photographs are marvelous examples of close-up photography as the reader witnesses a tarantula molting, a bolas spider dangling its line of silk covered with sticky globules, and the face and large fangs of a wolf spider."--Nancy Bent, Booklist
"A journey through the life of these often misunderstood and sometimes dangerous creatures. . . . This is a fascinating book."--Joel Lerner, Washington Post
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Paper: Not for sale in the Commonwealth (except Canada) and the European Union