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Common Spiders of North America

Common Spiders of North America

Richard A. Bradley
Illustrations by Steve Buchanan
Copyright Date: 2013
Edition: 1
Pages: 288
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1525/j.ctt24hs52
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  • Book Info
    Common Spiders of North America
    Book Description:

    Spiders are among the most diverse groups of terrestrial invertebrates, yet they are among the least studied and understood. This first comprehensive guide to all 68 spider families in North America beautifully illustrates 469 of the most commonly encountered species. Group keys enable identification by web type and other observable details, and species descriptions include identification tips, typical habitat, geographic distribution, and behavioral notes. A concise illustrated introduction to spider biology and anatomy explains spider relationships. This book is a critical resource for curious naturalists who want to understand this ubiquitous and ecologically critical component of our biosphere.

    eISBN: 978-0-520-95450-2
    Subjects: Zoology
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Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents (pp. vii-viii)
  3. PREFACE AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS (pp. ix-x)
  4. Finding, Studying, and Identifying Spiders
    • Spiders: AN INTRODUCTION (pp. 3-16)

      Naturalists know that the world is full of interesting organisms. Yet for most people, naturalists included, a large portion of our lives is lived in human-altered, domesticated environments. We don’t notice the enormous variety of life that is all around us. The lawn becomes an undifferentiated green carpet; the forest edge, a green wall. Even more invisible to us is the microworld. Down among the thatch of dead grass and leaves at the soil surface is a world teeming with bacteria and fungi that break down and recycle dead tissues, creating the basis for the living soil. The microscopic organisms...

    • Finding and Studying Spiders (pp. 17-24)

      Spiders can be found almost anywhere. The key to finding them is careful observation. Typically spiders sit motionless, particularly after being disturbed by an approaching human. To find spiders, stay still for a moment and look closely. If you are patient, a spider may reveal itself by resuming its normal behavior. If you have never searched for spiders before, your yard or a nearby park may be a good place to start. It’s helpful to keep a small clear plastic container available in your pocket, just in case you want to capture a spider for close observation. The habitat, time...

    • Identifying Spiders (pp. 25-40)

      At first when we find a little creature, we want to know what type it is. The first step is to find out if it is a spider at all, or perhaps some similar type of arthropod, such as a harvestmen. This step is really the recognition of a spider. We may also want to know what kind of spider we are looking at—for example, is it a wolf spider? This is identification to the level of the family. That information may be sufficient; because knowing what particular family a spider belongs to is the key to predicting its...

    • Keys to Families within Groups (pp. 41-60)

      The idea behind a dichotomous key is that you are presented two choices, a couplet. Pick the one that most closely describes the features of the spider you are trying to identify. Go to the next choice indicated by a number. If you make a mistake, the number in the parenthesis after the first choice in the couplet is your guide to remembering how you arrived at this pair in the first place. If you reach a dead end, where neither choice seems to describe your spider, use this number to work your way back through the key and then...

    • Color plates (pp. None)
  5. Spider Accounts (pp. 61-250)

    What follow are short descriptions of the 68 families of spiders included in this book as well as brief introductions to the 469 species that are illustrated. They were chosen to represent the spider fauna of North America north of Mexico. There are nearly 4,000 described species known from this region. The species described in this guide are the ones most likely to be encountered by an interested naturalist.

    Some of the spiders illustrated represent large numbers of similar species in the same, or closely related, genera. Many of these would be indistinguishable without careful examination with a microscope. The...

  6. GLOSSARY (pp. 251-256)
  7. REFERENCES (pp. 257-260)
  8. INDEX (pp. 261-272)