Book reviews:    Southern African Spiders, an identification guide

book38a.jpg (24334 bytes) Title
Southern African Spiders, an identification guide
Martin R. Filmer
1 86825 188 8
Third, 1995
Struik Publishers Ltd
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The title of this book already indicates that this is an identification guide. The book covers the 63 families of spiders that occur in the southern African region. With the help of this book you can identify the major spiders. Of course not all of the the 3800 species of spiders that occur in the region are described seperate. But with this book you can at least identify the family to which the spider belongs. And for the more frequent spiders, you can also find the species.

book38b.jpg (29160 bytes)The book starts with an introduction on spiders; the anatomy, reproduction and growth, lifestyles and habitats. There is also information on the silk of spiders and on poisons. And there is a part on what tou should know when collecting spiders. For a much more detailed describtion on spider-life, I would recommend the book Spiderwatch, the perfect companion for this book.

The identification part of the book has the spiders divided into the two main groups: Araneomorps and Mygalomorps. The first group is again divided into three main groups: web-living spiders, ground living spiders and plant living spiders.

The spiders are descibed with lifestyle, habitat and size. Most of them have drawings in b/w for both the spider and the web. In the book there are also many color photographs of spiders, although not on the same page as the desciption. The photographs are grouped together in the book. The photographs are however of very high quality.

Conclusion: If you are interested in spiders and looking for a book to help you identify them, then is the book to look for. It is small and handy and has al the information you are looking for, together with drawings and photographs. I would recommend using it together with Spiderwatch. Both very good value for your money.

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All text and images 1991 - 2011 Hans Martens