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Spiders are often underestimated as suitable behavioural models because of the general belief that due to their small brains their behaviour is innate and mostly invariable. Challenging this assumption, this fascinating book shows that rather than having a limited behavioural repertoire, spiders show surprising cognitive abilities, changing their behaviour to suit their situational needs.
The team of authors unravels the considerable intra-specific as well as intra-individual variability and plasticity in different behaviours ranging from foraging and web building to communication and courtship. An introductory chapter on spider biology, systematics and evolution provides the reader with the necessary background information to understand the discussed behaviours and helps to place them into an evolutionary context. Highlighting an under-explored area of behaviour, this book will provide new ideas for behavioural researchers and students unfamiliar with spiders as well as a valuable resource for those already working in this intriguing field.
1. Introduction Marie E. Herberstein and Anne Wignall; 2. Foraging behaviour Ximena J. Nelson and Robert R. Jackson; 3. Web building behaviour Marie E. Herberstein and I-Min Tso; 4. Anti-predator behaviour Ximena J. Nelson and Robert R. Jackson; 5. Communication Gabrielle Uhl and Damian Elias; 6. Deception Marie E. Herberstein and Anne Wignall; 7. Mating behaviour and sexual selection Maydianne Andrade and Jutta Schneider; 8. Group living in spiders: cooperative breeding and coloniality Trine Bilde and Yael Lubin; 9. Plasticity, learning and cognition Elizabeth Jakob, Christa Skow and Skye Long; 10. Kleptoparasitic spiders - a special case of behavioural plasticity Mary Whitehouse; Index.
Marie Elisabeth Herberstein is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Macquarie University, Sydney. Her research investigates a range of behaviours in spiders including web building, learning, mating (including sexual cannibalism) and the use of deceptive signals.
This book somehow mends the past neglect of these eight-legged anthropods and makes a strong case for considering them as a valuable behavioral model. Recommended. J.M. Gonzalez, Choice Magazine