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New Holland Publishers: The Private Life of Spiders
by Paul Hillyard
Illustrated throughout with stunning photographs, author Paul Hillyard lifts the lid on the complex world of spiders, from their hunting strategies and amazing web- spinning skills to their extraordinary courtship displays and devoted care for their young. Written in an engaging, educational and thought-provoking style, The book also explains why people are scared of spiders, why such fear is generally misplaced, and why we should be doing more to look after endangered spider species Paul Hillyard is a former curator at London's Natural History Museum. "Hillyard is a true spider devotee, and he cheerfully informs us that there is no escape from his subject. . . . The Private Life of Spiders is a stroll through their largely hidden world, highlighting the most spectacular, unusual, and instructive of the eight-legged brethren. After a brief overview of spider evolution and biology, Hillyard launches into the meat of his subject-a sweeping overview of spider diversity, commencing with those species whose habits and bodies are the most primitive, and culminating with those paragons of arachnid evolution, the elegant orb-weavers"
Paul Hillard, spider specialist at the Natural History Museum in London, said researchers first discovered the effects of psychotropic drugs on spiders during experiments at the end of 1960s.The researchers fed caffeine to spiders in hope of making them spin webs in the late evening rather than the early dawn.The result was eccentric webs rather than earlier spinning, he said."
PROJECT 1947 - A CATALOGUE AND ANALYSIS OF AUSTRALASIAN "ANGEL HAIR" CASES
Source: Paul Hillyard.
"The Book of the Spider. Random House. New York. 1994. ISBN 0 679 40881 9. Paul Hillyard is a spider specialist at London’s Natural History Museum.
"The latest official figure is 38,000 known and described spider species, but this find underlines that there are many, many more out there that we know nothing about," says Paul Hillyard, curator of spiders at the Natural History Museum in London.Says Dr Hillyard, "I have never heard of a similar claim before, and if these are all indeed new species it will be a very, very important find.
Peter Hillyard, The Book of the Spider
While browsing some reviews of natural history books, I was thrilled to stumble across Paul Hillyard's The Book of the Spider and was even more thrilled to discover that the library owned a copy which I checked out immediately.A spider specialist for the Natural History Museum in London, Hillyard maintains "the national collection of spiders" as well as advises on "the human aspects, or, rather, on the problems that arise when humans and spiders meet."The book is delightful and accessible, written with dry wit and an obvious relish for the subject. (Since he includes one or two recipes for cooking and eating certain large spiders, one can assume that many others have relish for the subject as well.)Did you know that there was a real "Miss Muffet"?She was likely Patience Muffet, the daughter of Reverend Dr. Thomas Muffet (or Mouffet), a 17th century scholar who was extremely fond of spiders and studied them avidly.He also incorporated spiders and spider webs into home remedies with which he dosed poor Patience, likely straight into a raging case of arachnophobia.Hillyard weaves tantalizing bits of information into his narrative.He starts out with a frank discussion of arachnophobia, which leads into the spider as a theme in folklore, legend and myth. (Think Anansi and Robert the Bruce.) He goes on to discuss various types of spiders -- aeronautical and venomous -- then goes on to describe more unusual "remarkable" spiders.A book about spiders would not be complete without a chapter on webs and spider silk, and Hillyard obliges, including a description of how an orb web is spun.He covers the discovery of spiders in South America, a brief history of spiderology, and makes a plea for the conservation of the spider.In the final chapter, "From Arachnophobia to the Love of the Spider," Hillyard sums up his case for befriending the arachnids, pointing out that the quantity of insects they eat should be more than enough justification for their protection.Reference notes and an index round out the witty and entertaining text.Hillyard's easy conversational style and the placement of graphics and cartoons throughout the text adds to the liveliness.Only the chapter on spiderology bogs down a bit, but as for the rest, only a diehard arachnophobe will remain unmoved.