Spiders of India - a comprehensive book on Indian spiders

Dr. V.L. Chopra, Member Planning Commission, Govt. of India, releases the book by handing over a copy to K.R. Viswambharan, Vice-Chancellor, Kerala Agricultural University.

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More Information About the Book

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 this 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 1400 species have been described from India (and many more to be documented), the study on the taxonomy, biology and ecology of Indian spiders remain miserably neglected. 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, as well as 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 which are 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 on 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 entire 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.

Spiders of India, edited by Dr. P.A. Sebastian and Prof. Dr. K.V. Peter, is published by Universities Press, Hyderabad, India.