The Spider

John Crompton, Author, David Quammen, Introduction by Nick Lyons Books $8.95 (254p) ISBN 978-0-941130-29-5
Crompton, an amateur naturalist who travels the world and has written books about snakes, ants, wasps and bees, divides the spider by general type (web weavers, wolf spiders, jumping spiders, etc.) and then discusses aspects of the creature such as defenses, courting and intelligence. Throughout the study he emphasizes the differences among species of spiders: some create beautiful intricate webs, others slap together asymmetrical webs and still others do not weave webs; some females eat their mates, others live with them; some spiders manufacture glue, others don't. In a typical passage, Crompton notes that when house spiders invade the webs of other house spiders, they do so without checking to see if the defending spider is smaller. ""Such rashness however is probably due not to bravery but to defective eyesight. The invader is not able to judge the size and power of an opponent until they are at close quarters when it is too late to make apologies.'' First published in England, this is a voluble, entertaining, amusing study. (March)
Reviewed on: 03/01/1987
Release date: 03/01/1987
Genre: Nonfiction
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