Spiders are everywhere, in your house, in your garden and watching you while you are at work. They are an important aspect of the ecology of nearly every terrestrial habitat. For these reasons it is worth taking a bit of time to get to know your local fauna. There are however far too few books to help with their identification. This work which has a strong commitment to ecology is a very useful and welcome addition to the collection. Texas is a large state with over 900 spider species on its list, a full colour guide to all species would be a large and expensive work. The market will not yet support such an endeavor but perhaps this work will help move us towards the day when it will.
This book deals with the 41 families of spiders occurring in Texas, sensibly it focuses primarily on those species most likely to be encountered by people. As such, and because of the competence of the introduction this will be an excellent addition to the library of anybody in the region who has even the slightest interest in their local fauna. The addition of an up-to-date checklist of species for Texas, a glossary and a 14 page bibliography will make it a useful component of an school or college library. The 49 colour photos give an indication of the basic body shape of the the major families and allows instant identification of the commoner species. The photos include some of other arachnids as well. The text includes a list of key family characteristics, some notes on taxonomy and nomenclature for each of the families covered. This is followed in most cases by a synopsis of those species best representing the family in Texas.
All in all a very pleasurable book to own, highly recommended to all residents and visitors.
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