Spider Silk Evolution and 400 Million Years of Spinning, Waiting, Snagging, and Mating Leslie Brunetta, Catherine L. Craig

Format:
Hardback
Publication date:
08 Jun 2010
ISBN:
9780300149227
Imprint:
Yale University Press
Dimensions:
248 pages: 235 x 156mm
Illustrations:
12 color illus.

Spiders, objects of eternal human fascination, are found in many places: on the ground, in the air, and even under water. Leslie Brunetta and Catherine Craig have teamed up to produce a substantive yet entertaining book for anyone who has ever wondered, as a spider rappelled out of reach on a line of silk, “How do they do that?”

The orb web, that iconic wheel-shaped web most of us associate with spiders, contains at least four different silk proteins, each performing a different function and all meshing together to create a fly-catching machine that has amazed and inspired humans through the ages. Brunetta and Craig tell the intriguing story of how spiders evolved over 400 million years to add new silks and new uses for silk to their survival “toolkit” and, in the telling, take readers far beyond the orb. The authors describe the trials and triumphs of spiders as they use silk to negotiate an ever-changing environment, and they show how natural selection acts at the genetic level and as individuals struggle for survival.

Leslie Brunetta is a freelance writer whose articles have appeared in the New York Times, Technology Review, and the Sewanee Review; on NPR; and elsewhere. Catherine L. Craig is an internationally recognized evolutionary biologist, arachnologist, and authority on silk.

". . . [a] remarkable history of evolutionary innovations in silk spinning by spiders. . . effective and entertaining."--Quarterly Review of Biology


". . . an ideal introduction to spiders and a tempting peek at the field of silk research that. . . will leave the reader forever fascinated and enthused by these wonderful web weavers."--BioScience

Spider Silk—a wonderful, charismatic natural history of spiders—will truly inspire all readers who may never before have appreciated this unique group of organisms.”—Margaret Lowman, author of Life in the Treetops: Adventures of a Woman in Field Biology and of It’s a Jungle Up There: More Tales from the Treetops


“This is a compelling and immensely readable account that engages the reader from start to finish and that I found difficult to put down.” –Tim R. New, Journal of Insect Conservation


Recipient of the 2011 "Highly Recommended Book Award" presented by the Boston Authors Club


Named the Silver Winner for the  2010 ForeWord Book of the Year Award in the Nature category 


Selected as a Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2011 in the Zoology category.