Book reviews:    Spiderwatch in southern Africa

book35a.jpg (31146 bytes) Title
Spiderwatch in Southern Africa
Astri and John Leroy
1 86872 302 X
Struik Publishers Ltd
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This book is meant for the spider enthousiast wo lives in or travels to southern Africa. This region is blessed with 3800 spider species in 64 different families. Well, some people (like my wife) might say punished instead of blessed. Spiderwatch is written by Astri and John Leroy, a couple who have been studying spiders in southern Africa for over twenty years. The book descibes what spiders are, how they live and what differences there are between spiders species.

book35b.jpg (31805 bytes)So this book is not a field guide that lists all the different spiders in the region. For this purpose I would advise Southern African Spiders, an identification guide. Actually for anyone with a real interest in these creatures, I would strongly advise to buy both books, as together they make a very nice set. These two books, with exactly the same size, would fit into your pocket or bag very easily on a walk.

The book is divided into six major chapters. The Spider evolution, How spiders function, How spiders perceive the world, Spider behaviour, Dangerous spiders and Indentifying spiders. There is also an appendix on how to find, collect and photograph spiders with a lot of helpfull hints.

Throughout the book you will find lots of drawings as shown in the picture to the left. They clearly illustrate what is meant in the text. On nearly every page, you will also find several color photographs of spiders or spiderwebs. These photographs, by John Leroy, are all of very high quality.


Conclusion:  Anuone who is interested in spiders and either lives in southern Africa or is travelling to the region, should have a look at this book. It provides an enormous background on spiders, for both the novice and the more experienced. I can surely recommend this book, and I would recommend to use it together with the Spider identification guide. Very good value for the money.

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All text and images 1991 - 2011 Hans Martens