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Journal of Insect Conservation

, Volume 14, Issue 5, pp 581–582 | Cite as

Leslie Brunetta and Catherine L. Craig: Spider silk: evolution and 400 million years of spinning, waiting, snagging and mating

CSIRO Publishing, Collingwood, Victoria, 2010, 280 pp, hardback, Au$ 39.95, ISBN 9780643098473
  • Tim R. New
Book Review
  • 78 Downloads

Introducing a review of a book on silk by referring to it as a ‘ripping yarn’ may seem frivolous, but this is a compelling and immensely readable account that engages the reader from start to finish and that I found difficult to put down. I venture that most readers, even informed arachnologists, may not subsequently regard spiders in quite the same way after reading this book. It is shown, for example, that the despised domestic cobweb is a more advanced evolutionary development than the orb web often regarded as a pinnacle of spider accomplishment. The book’s central theme is the evolution, variety and roles of silk as a major driver of spider economy, diversification and success, as important for spiders as has been the development of wings for insects. Brunetta and Craig demonstrate this evolution clearly and logically in describing the generation and development of protein variety, thence silk variety, which has facilitated the ecological expansion of spiders from ground-dwelling...

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ZoologyLa Trobe UniversityMelbourneAustralia

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