Spiders: The Ultimate Predators

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9781554073467: Spiders: The Ultimate Predators
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Spiders are the most successful of all terrestrial predators.

Humans share the planet with about 40,000 known species of the remarkable creatures called spiders. From mountaintops to seashores and from ponds to deserts, spiders are likely to be nearby.

Stephen Dalton provides fascinating information on the astonishing array of techniques spiders use for catching their prey: trapping in webs, lassoing, jumping, stealing, chasing, ambushing, spitting, fishing, masquerading as other animals and even attracting prey by mimicking the prey's pheromones.

Although spiders have an image problem, many of these intriguing creatures are actually not at all creepy. The jumping spiders, by far the most numerous single group, have, some might say, an almost cuddly appearance.

Spiders features spectacular photographs that are extraordinary in their detail. Chapters provide information on habitat, hunting techniques, anatomy, general characteristics and location in the world and include:

  • Nocturnal hunters
  • Trappers: orderly webs
  • Daylight visual hunters
  • Trappers: disorderly webs
  • Jumping spiders
  • Tunnel-web builders
  • Ambushers and lurkers
  • Nonconformists.

There is also a guide to photographing spiders.

Sure to be a hit with nature buffs and general readers, Spiders: The Ultimate Predators documents some spider behavior never recorded previously.

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About the Author:

Stephen Dalton is a celebrated pioneer of high-speed wildlife photography, with a devoted following among nature lovers and photographers. He is the author of 15 books.


Dalton dispels one of the biggest myths about spiders, namely that most species are creatures of sunlight.... Dalton captures these fascinating creatures through more than 250 spectacular photographs documenting various species,... His ability to capture the elusive world of spiders is what makes this book exceptional. It is "must" reading for nature buffs, photographers and even those of us who are occasionally captivated by the beauty of a spider's intricate silky web. (Larry Cox Tucson Citizen 2008-10-09)

This [8.75 x 11.25] coffee table book features detailed, high-quality color photos on every page, illustrating information on the array of techniques spiders use for catching their prey. Chapters are divided according to the type of predator rather than by family or habitat, and provide information on habitat, hunting techniques, anatomy, general characteristics, and location. The spiders covered are the most important families common to both northern Europe and North America, plus a few that thrive on one continent but not the other. The book also includes a guide to photographing spiders. Dalton is a pioneer of high-speed wildlife photography and the author of 15 books. (SciTech Book News)

I have never warmed much to spiders...[they] are too creepy, and have too many legs and eyes, for me and others like me to appreciate their undoubted beauty and elegance as hunters. Well, I'm wrong and this book has changed my mind. Spiders are tops.... There are many of them in this beautifully illustrated book. Dalton has very sensibly focused on spiders as hunters. His gallery is broadly divided into spiders that trap their prey in webs of various shapes, race after it, ambush unsuspecting bugs or lasso them with silken ropes, or spit glue at them, or put out tripwires or fishing lines.... Although there are excellent field guides on the market, spiders lose something when they are portrayed as mere specimens. They need to be doing something in order to show their characteristic postures and behaviour. This book is a revelation of the enormous diversity [that] lies within that basic eight-legged format; one is tempted to think there is no such thing as a dull spider. (British Wildlife)

This beautifully executed book captures the elusive world of spiders through more than 250 spectacular photographs. (Larry Cox Tucson Citizen 2009-01-01)

Spiders are neglected by those interested in nature, both for their "creepiness" factor and the fact that most are not brightly colored. Dalton does much to dispel both negatives in this new celebration of arachnids. Beginning with a basic chapter on what a spider is (and is not), the author then examines representative spiders from groups divided by hunting style.... Illustrating the text are Dalton's exquisite close-up photos of spiders (mostly found in Europe or the U.S.): the final chapter reveals Dalton's secrets for photographing elusive subjects. YA: The hair-raising factor will attract even arachnophobia teens. (Nancy Bent Booklist 2008-11-15)

In this beautifully illustrated volume aimed at a general audience, Dalton provides a highly selective rather than comprehensive treatment of his subject. Nevertheless, the quality of the photographs is simply outstanding, making the book a useful adjunct to the more detailed monographs. The first chapter provides a short introduction to the group and includes a description of spider morphology and the major taxonomic groups. Subsequent chapters describe the various hunting modes, including species active in the day versus the night, jumping spiders, web builders, and tunnel web spiders. Dalton's forte is his photographic expertise, and the concluding chapter on techniques and equipment for photographing spiders will thus be of great benefit to scientists and nonscientists alike.... Recommended. (M. J. O'Donnell, McMaster University Choice 2009-05-01)

I heartily recommend Spiders, the Ultimate Predators. The book is not meant to be a field guide or identification manual, rather it is an introduction to the world of spiders. Stephen Dalton looks into the lives of arachnids and gives many examples of fascinating behaviors that will appeal to amateur naturalists. His tales of the difficulty of photographing their lives will appeal to nature photographers, while the exquisitely composed and crafted images will thrill even professional arachnologists. The book shows how dedication to a single subject and a non-compromising commitment to quality can lead to a fine volume that deserves a place on the shelves of all those, professional or amateur, who are fascinated by spiders. For photomacrographers it is a monument to the art and craft of photographing the tiny eight-legged denizens of the natural world. (Adrian Thysse The Bug Whisperer 2010-07-03)

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Stephen Dalton
Published by Firefly Books (2008)
ISBN 10: 1554073464 ISBN 13: 9781554073467
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(Portland, ME, U.S.A.)

Book Description Firefly Books, 2008. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M1554073464

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