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Dr. Eleanor’s Book of Common Spiders

Spiders have a problem, and it’s us. Despite their magnificent talents for crafting webs, capturing mosquitoes, and camouflage, for millennia arachnophobia has hampered our ability to appreciate these eight-legged and -eyed marvels.

No longer! In this witty, accessible, and beautifully illustrated guide, Christopher M. Buddle and Eleanor Spicer Rice metamorphose creepy-crawly revulsion into spider wonder. Emerging from ambitious citizen science project Your Wild Life (an initiative based at North Carolina State University), Dr. Eleanor's Book of Common Spiders provides an eye-opening arachnological overview of the natural history of species most noted by project participants, showcasing some of the fascinating spiders found in our attics and tents, front lawns and forests—and even introducing us to spiders that fish. Exploring species from the tiny (but gymnastic) zebra jumping spider to the naturally shy and woefully misunderstood black widow, this guide will be a tremendous resource for teachers, students, and scientists alike. But more than this, it will transform the way we perceive the environment around us by deepening our understanding of its littlest inhabitants, inspiring all of us to find our inner naturalist, get outside, and crawl across the dirt—magnifying glass in hand.

80 pages | 72 color plates | 6 x 8 | © 2018

Biological Sciences: Behavioral Biology, Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, Natural History


“Spicer Rice’s style is clear, fluid, and engaging.”

Carl Zimmer | National Geographic’s “The Loom”

“Spicer Rice makes complex topics easy to understand with minimal jargon. The species descriptions seem like stories about eccentric and entertaining relatives.”

Gwen Pearson | WIRED

Table of Contents


01 Writing Spider (Argiope aurantia)
02 Barn Spider (Neoscona crucifera)
03 Bowl and Doily Spider (Frontinella communis)
04 Grass Spider (Agelenopsis)
05 Black Widow Spider(Latrodectus)
06 Cellar Spider (Pholcus phalangioides)
07 Fishing Spider (Dolomedes spp.)
08 Wolf Spider (Lycosidae)
09 Striped Lynx Spider (Oxyopes salticus)
10 Bold Jumper Spider (Phidippus audax)
11 Zebra Jumper Spider (Salticus scenicus)
12 Ceiling Spider (Cheiracanthium inclusum)
13 Goldenrod Spider (Misumena vatia)
14 Black Purse-Web Spider (Sphodros niger)

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