Bark spiders spin webs ten times stronger than Kevlar. Jumping spiders are capable of learning, recognizing, and remembering colors. Recluse spiders can tolerate six months of extreme drought and have a toxin-laden bite that can necessitate skin grafts. This title explores the huge diversity of spider species and their fascinating traits. An introduction outlining the spider’s natural history is followed by 117 illustrated profiles spanning the taxonomic spider families. Photographs of species from each family are shown, along with population distribution maps, tables of essential information, and commentaries revealing notable characteristics. The family profiles are also organized phylogenetically, and the commentaries in each account reflect different aspects of a spider’s biology.
Author Norman I. Platnick is Peter J. Solomon Family Curator Emeritus of Spiders at the American Museum of Natural History where he curates the world’s largest collection of spiders. A Ph.D recipient from Harvard University, Platnick has described over 1,800 species of spiders, making him the second most prolific arachnologist in history. He originated the World Spider Catalog; a fully accessible database of the 45,000 species, a resource that is unmatched for any other group of organisms. Platnick is recognized as a world leader in spider taxonomy.