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Common Spiders of North America

Richard A. Bradley

Publication Year: 2012

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.

Published by: University of California Press


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pp. i-ii

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. iii-viii

Table of Contents

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pp. ix-x

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Preface and Acknowledgments

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pp. xi-xii

...My introduction to spider biology began over 30 years ago with a course taught by Donald Lowrie while I was in graduate school at the University of New Mexico. He ignited in me a fascination for these little animals, above and beyond mere identification. Herbert and Lorna Levi produced a wonderful guide to terrestrial invertebrates in 1968; it was focused on spiders and is still widely used today. The genesis of the current book was the demand for a more complete guide to the common...

Finding, Studying, and Identifying Spiders

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Spiders: an Introduction

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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...

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Finding and Studying Spiders

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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...

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Identifying Spiders

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pp. 25-40

...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 role in nature and many basic features of its biology. If we are willing to delve a bit deeper...

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Keys to Families Within Groups

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pp. 41-59

...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...

Color Plates Section

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pp. 60-227

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Spider Accounts

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pp. 228-417

...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...


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pp. 418-423


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pp. 424-427


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pp. 428-439

E-ISBN-13: 9780520954502
Print-ISBN-13: 9780520274884

Page Count: 288
Publication Year: 2012

OCLC Number: 835370738
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Common Spiders of North America

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Subject Headings

  • Spiders -- North America -- Identification.
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