An updated translation of the definitive text on spider biology by the author of the second German-language edition from Thieme Verlag. The writer places. Request PDF on ResearchGate | Biology of spiders / Rainer F. Foelix | Traducción de: Biologie der spinnen Incluye bibliografía e índice. Biology of Spiders has 47 ratings and 9 reviews. Namrirru said: I love this book! Not just because I love spiders, but this book is lucidly written and f.

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Skip to main content. Log In Sign Up. Curiosity does not necessarily kill the cat—nor the spider. Published by Oxford University Press, Inc. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the prior permission of Oxford University Press.

An Introduction to Spiders 3 2. Functional Anatomy 17 3. Spider Webs 6. Locomotion and Prey Capture 7. When the science editor of Oxford University Press asked me last year whether I would prepare a third edition, I had at first strong reservations because I knew vaguely how much work would be in stock for me: I took up the challenge anyway and subsequently spent an entire year working exclusively on this new edition.

Going through the enormous amount of spider literature was only possible through the internet, rapid information exchange by e-mail, and the sup- port of kind colleagues who sent me with their latest spider publications. Including the major results of arachnological research of the past decade, it was thus possible to update all ten chapters.

This is not to say that it is a complete revision—of course, there will be omissions, deliberate and unconscious ones. My goal was always to provide a readable book on the biology of spiders, not an encyclopedia. The fact that this new edition nevertheless contains more than new references gives some idea of how much of the recent literature has been incorporated. Particular attention was paid to the illustrations.

Since all the former drawings and photographs had to be scanned anew, this provided a good opportunity to improve and to correct any flaws in the illustrations of the last edition.

Almost new pictures have been added to the present edition, often originals that were taken specifically for this book. Many unique photographs were contributed by fellow arachnologists, to whom I am most grateful.

Biology of Spiders

My thanks go to the following colleagues for their help and support: I also wish to express my gratitude to the fol- zpiders institutions: The Naturama Aargau for use of their computer and graphics facilities, the Neue Kantonsschule Aarau for letting me work on their electron foelid scopes, and the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, for allowing access to the scientific literature. And, usually, they know very little about them.

This lack of knowledge is also apparent when it comes to illustrations of spiders, which commonly look more like caricatures than real spiders.

For instance, if we look at early illustrations, the only feature that is depicted correctly is the number of legs fig. This rendering improved somewhat in the later Middle Ages, when natu- ralists developed a deeper interest in insects and spiders and started to look at them more closely foeelix.

What is typical for spiders, what makes them biklogy from other arthropods, and why are they actually quite interesting? This first chapter provides a brief but concise introduction spides spiders and their biology. Spiders are distributed all over the world and have conquered all ecological environments, with perhaps the exception of the air and the open sea.

Most spiders are relatively small 2—10 mm body lengthyet some large tarantulas may reach a body length of 80—90 mm. Male spiders are almost always smaller and have a shorter life span than females.


All spiders are carnivorous. Many are biooogy as snare builders web spi- derswhereas others hunt their victims ground spiders or wandering spiders.

Insects constitute the major source of prey for spiders, but certain other arthropods are often consumed as well. These are connected by a narrow stalk, the pedicel fig. In contrast, the opisthosoma fulfills chiefly vegetative tasks: Of all the typical spider features only the number of legs is correctly shown in this wood-cut from Hortis Sanitatis; Mainz, Germany.

The prosoma is covered by a dorsal and a ventral plate, the carapace and the sternum, respectively. It serves as the place of attachment for six pairs of extremities: In mature male spiders the pedipalps are modified into copulatory organs—a quite extraordinary feature, not found in any other arthropod.

The opisthosoma is usually unsegmented, except in some spiders considered to have evolved from ancient species Mesothelae. In contrast to the firm prosoma, the abdomen is biologyy soft and sacklike; it carries the spinnerets on its posterior end.

A Sketch of Spider Systematics At present taxonomists recognize about 40, spider species, which they group into families Platnick, This is best illustrated by the fact foflix about 20 different spider classifications have been proposed since The order of spiders, Araneae, is usually divided into three suborders, the Mesothelae, the Mygalomorphae, and the Araneomorphae.

The Mygalomorphae comprise all the tarantulas; their chelicerae lie almost parallel to each other fig. Their classification into higher taxa is still problematic. Formerly, one classification separated the Cribellatae from the Ecribellatae, based on the presence of a spinning plate cribellum situated in front of the spinnerets as the distinguishing character of the Cribellatae.

All Araneomorphae without such a cribellum were biolpgy together as Ecribellatae. Nowadays it is generally assumed that all spiders were originally cribellate, and that the ecribellate spiders evolved later by a reduction or loss of the cribellum. However, several aspects remain unclear, such as possible parallel evolutions convergences among cribellate and ecribellate spiders.

Among the Ecribellatae, some spider families with simple genital structures the so-called Haplogynae were separated from those with complex genital structures, the Entelegynae fig. Over the past years, how- ever, several arachnologists have voiced the opinion that the Haplogynae are not really a homogenous group Brignoli, ; Lehtinen, ; Platnick, ; Platnick et al.

Some haplogynes have quite complex genital structures Burger et al. Although this subdivision also became questionable, there is again some justification to maintain at least some classical Dionycha, such as the Salticidae, the Clubionidae, and the Thomisidae. An Introduction to Spiders 7 Figure 1. Gray arrows indicate the direction of sperm transfer into the spermathecae Recblack arrows denote the sperm transfer toward the egg cells prior to fertilization.

After Uhl et al. However, a reduced middle claw arrow is often still present, like in this tarsus of a young jumping spider. The two main claws 1, 2 are serrated like a comb. Suborder Mesothelae 1 family Family Liphistiidae 85 species 2. Suborder Mygalomorphae Orthognatha 15 families Family Atypidae 45 species Ctenizidae biologt Dipluridae species Theraphosidae species 3. Suborder Araneomorphae Labidognatha 90 families Family Dysderidae species Pholcidae species Scytotidae species Amaurobiidae species Dictynidae species Eresidae species Clubionidae species Gnaphosidae species Salticidae species Thomisidae species Lycosidae species Pisauridae species Oxyopidae species Agelenidae species Araneidae species Linyphiidae species Theridiidae species Uloboridae species To familiarize the uninitiated reader with this seemingly abstract system, the following natural history of some spider families will serve as an introduction.

Funnel-web Spiders Agelenidae Funnel-web foelixx are familiar to most of us. In European houses, for example, we usually find Tegenaria in the bathroom, often trapped in the tub, where it cannot scale the smooth walls.

Aside from its considerable size 10 mm body lengthTegenaria is quite conspicuous because of its long, hairy legs 12—18 biollgy and the two long spinnerets protruding from its abdomen fig. Outdoors we can read- ily find fodlix somewhat smaller Agelena in short grass or low bushes.


The sheet webs of agelenids usually cover vegetation or bridge the corners of buildings. The flat web narrows like a funnel on one end, forming a small silken tube.

When an insect blunders onto the web, the spider quickly darts out from its hideout, bites the victim, and carries it back. The actual feeding process always takes place inside the retreat.

During the return to the tube the spider shows remarkably good orientation. For this reason funnel-web spiders have been a favorite subject for sensory physiologists see chapter 4. The water spider Argyroneta aquatica was long considered to be a member of spiiders agelenid family, but is now placed in foflix own family Argyronetidae. It is the only spider that lives biologyy under water. Rather than build a web, it attaches an air bubble to a water plant and uses it as a residence.

It hunts mostly fly larvae or small crustaceans, which it catches while swimming about freely under water. To eat the prey the spider must return to its diving bell. From time to time the air bag is replenished at the water surface. Thus the respiration of a water spider does not differ in principle from that of its land-living relatives.

Orb-Web Spiders Araneidae The most impressive web design belongs to the orb weavers. The orb web of the common garden spider certainly represents the best-known type of all webs figs. The spider either sits right in the center of the web or hides in a retreat outside of it.


Biology of Spiders by Rainer F. Foelix

Biooogy flying into the web become stuck to the sticky threads long enough for the spider to rush out from the hub to bite or wrap its victim. Thus it comes as no surprise blology find that there are hundreds of structural variations on the orb-web design as well.

Some examples are given in chapter 5. The body structures of araneids also varies considerably; most notable are the tropical orb weavers, which can be very colorful and exotically shaped fig. An orb web is typical not only of the Araneidae but also of two other spider families, the Tetragnathidae and the Uloboridae. Uloborids build an orb web that is very similar to the webs of the araneids, but that differs from them in one important aspect: Note the position of the spinnerets arrow.

An Introduction to Spiders 11 Wolf Spiders Lycosidae Wolf spiders are vagabonds that lie in ambush or freely hunt their prey. They are best recognized by their characteristic eye arrangement of four uniformly small eyes in the anterior row of eyes and two large median eyes in the posterior row fig.

About different species occur all over the world, and they vary quite a bit in size. Smaller wolf spiders 4—10 mm body length roam freely among stones or low vegetation; only the larger representatives Arctosa, Trochosa, Alopecosa; 10—20 mm dig burrows.

Certain species live close to the water and can even walk on its surface fig. Members of the aptly named genus Pirata hunt insects on the water sur- face, or even dive after tadpoles or small fish Gettmann, A few species of wolf spiders Aulonia, Hippasa, Sosippus, Aglaoctenusthought to be more primitive varieties, build webs reminiscent of the sheet webs of agelenids Brady,; Job, The most famous wolf spider is certainly the Mediterranean tarantula the name being derived from the Italian town of Taranto.