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Spiders are of major importance in ecosystems and are recognized as effective natural control agents in agroecology. Nearly 40,000 species of spiders have been described but the actual number of species is expected to be many times higher.
This book provides a concise overview and descriptions of the 107 spider families that are presently recognized. It contains identification keys to the families and to the different kinds of spider webs, and shortcuts to remarkable types of spiders. The book fills a gap that has existed for a long time since the previous such overview dates back from more than a century.
*Illustrated keys to the families, their diagnostic and descriptive characters, notes on their taxonomic position, and their lifestyles and distribution
*Key to spider webs
*Series of photographs of living spiders, mainly from the collections of James Cokendolpher and the late Frances Murphy
*General phylogeny of spiders with a list of the main diagnostic characters for each clade.
The keys lead to the identification to family level of those specimens that match the diagnostic characters. Certain poorly defined families such as the Stiphidiidae and Desidae have been excluded from the keys.
The second edition contains a few minor updates and corrections
Both authors of this book are professional arachnologists who have devoted most of their careers to the study of spiders, both from a biological/ agroecological and a taxonomic perspective.
Dr Rudy Jocque is head of the Invertebrates (non-insects) Section in the department of Zoology at the Royal Museum for Central Africa, Tervuren, Belgium.
Prof Ansie Dippenaar-Schoeman is head of the Arachnida Unit in the Biosystematics Division at the Plant Protection Research Institute, Agricultural Research Council and extraordinary professor in the Department of Zoology and Entomology at the University of Pretoria, South Africa.