Spiders of India is the only modern book available on the subject, and will prove an invaluable resource for professionals, students, naturalists and researchers in zoology, entomology, ecology and physiology. The first part of the book looks at the morphology and anatomy of spiders, as well as systematic and evolution. The second part provides detailed descriptions of selected species. The book also contains, importantly, a decisive and updated checklist of the 1520 spiders which have been described from India. It is richly illustrated with line drawings and diagrams and more than 150 colour photographs many documented for the first time.
About the Author
Dr P.A. Sebastian took his doctoral degree in arachnology from Bhavnagar University, Gujarat. Since then he has been actively engaged in research on various aspects of spiders such as taxonomy, ecology, diversity, biological control potential, toxicology synanthropic spiders spider silk biotechnology spider venom chemistry etc. he has taken the initiative to organize a group solely devoted to research on spiders in the division of arachnology, sacred heart college, kochi, where he is currently reader of zoology.
Dr K.V.Peter is a horticulturist, a plant breeder, a university teacher, and an acknowledged research manager. He is a fellow of the national academy of agricultural sciences, New Delhi, and the national academy of sciences, Allahabad. He has also served as the vice chancellor of Kerala agricultural university.
As the Indian economy is thriving, great progress is being made on the scientific front as well. This beautiful book is a very valuable contribution, to modern arachnology in particular, and to science in general in India. In the first part the external and internal morphological, physiological, ecological and life history pattern peculiarities of spiders are concisely described. In the second and main part of the book, different species are described in detail and their geographical distribution and what is known about their natural history are"summarised. Here, India's almost incredible wealth in higher and lower taxa, in morphological variations, in behaviour and in ecological functions of this animal group, is skillfully exposed. I am convinced that this book will play an important role in strengthening and spreading scientific knowledge about the fascinating organisms that spiders are. While on the one hand, this book will stimulate young students to become arachnologists, on the other hand, this important scientific work could be attractive to a broader public. Together with the authors, I hope this will lead to greater consideration of these animals in nature conservation.
Spiders are ancient animals with a history going back over 350 million years. They are abundant and widespread in almost all ecosystems and constitute one of the most important components of global biodiversity. Spiders have a very significant role to play in ecology by being exclusively predatory and thereby maintaining ecological equilibrium. Many spiders feed on noxious insects like houseflies and mosquitoes, which are vectors of human diseases. A large number of spiders are found in agricultural fields and thus play an important role in controlling the population of many agricultural pests. Despite their importance spiders are largely neglected mainly due to ignorance and fear and the subsequent dislike for them. This neglect for spiders, both academic and conservational, seems highly overlooked and unjustifiable. Although more than 1,400 species have been described from India (and with many more still to be documented), the study on the taxonomy, biology and ecology of Indian spiders remain miserably inadequate. This has largely been due to lack of expertise in this field and the absence of sufficient literature. However, it is heartening to note the existence of a growing number of serious students of spiders and also well informed amateurs. Apparently, this necessitates the need for an updated book on Indian spiders.
This book is aimed to popularise the study of spiders in India, to correct many false impressions about these animals, to create an awareness and interest about their study and more importantly, to provide an in-depth understanding of spiders of India with detailed information on selected species, based on available published literature and from our own personal observations. This book is not intended to be a complete account of the spider fauna of India, but attempts to describe the most common and widely distributed species and those species commonly encountered in the field. For easy comprehension the book has been divided into two parts; each part being subdivided into chapters. The first part deals with a general account of spiders and contains chapters on introduction to spiders (including a detailed account of their morphology and anatomy), natural history and bioecology, studying spiders as well as systematics and evolution, The second part deals with the spiders of India with descriptions of all the families described so far from India, as well as descriptions of selected genera and species. Attempts have also been made to present colour photographs of as many species as possible. Most of the detailed descriptions and photographs are of those spiders occurring in the different ecosystems in South India, especially the state of Kerala, which have been more easily accessible to the authors of this book. Hence, readers are requested to excuse the apparent predisposition towards spider species from this region alone. Nonetheless, many of the species described here. Have a widespread distribution across the country and thus, this predisposition may be nullified. Wherever photographs could not be obtained, detailed drawings have been given for the purpose of easy identification. Readers are further recommended to read the books and literature given in the reference list provided at the end of the book for more detailed information on spiders since these references are the basis for some of the information provided in this book. The book also contains a glossary and updated checklist of Indian spiders.
Most of the photographs used in this book were taken by the authors. Nonetheless, a few photographs were supplied to us, which we acknowledge with thanks. Our special thanks to Mr. Kishen Das from Mysore, Karnataka for some of his beautiful photographs. A few words about our authors-all of them are active researchers in arachnology and are currently engaged in the study of spiders, on various aspects such as taxonomy, diversity, biology, ecology, behavioural studies, as well as biological control of pests using spiders. We have many people to thank. Firstly, Dr MS Swaminathan, India's most renowned agricultural scientist and advocate of sustainable agriculture, for sending a message of appreciation. We also thank Prof Dr Jean-Pierre Maelfait, Institute of Nature and Forest Research and Terrestrial Ecology Unit, Ghent University, Belgium for writing the foreword of this book. The constant inspiration and unfailing support of Rev Fr AJ Saviance Carmelites of Mary Immaculate (CMI), Principal, Sacred Heart College, Thevara, Kochi is greatly acknowledged and appreciated. We are thankful to Dr Rudy Jocque, Head, Invertebrate Section, Royal Museum for Central Mrica, Tervuren, Belgium and Dr Yves Samyn, Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, Brussels, Belgium for the help during the preparation of this book. Thanks are also due to Prof John Francis, Department of English, Sacred Heart College, Thevara, Kochi who read through the manuscript and offered valuable suggestions for improvement. We would also like to Record our sincere thanks to our publishers Universities Press for making this book a reality. We thank all our colleagues and well-wishers for their encouragement and moral support extended during the preparation of this book. We do not claim that this book is flawless as errors or omissions might have crept into it: We therefore appeal to our readers to point out any such errors or omissions to us and also furnish us with suggestions or comments to improve this book so that it would be more beneficial to the students of arachnology and spider-lovers.
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