By Richard A. Bradley, Steve Buchanan
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Additional info for Common Spiders of North America
NORTH AMERICAN SPIDER FAUNA Worldwide, there are more than 42,000 spider species (Platnick 2012). The tropics host the greatest variety of spiders; nearly a quarter of the world’s 110 families of spiders are found exclusively or primarily in the tropical realm. The focus of this book is the spiders of North America north of Mexico. No one knows exactly how many different types of spiders exist here, because relatively few scientists study spiders. Our knowledge of them is incomplete. At last count, a total of 3,807 species of spiders had been found in this region.
It is not unusual to find a few dozen spiders, including many different species. Armed with some simple skills, you can find spiders of many kinds, even in the most mundane places. Some spiders have become regular occupants of our cities and parks. Some spiders inhabit buildings, but many more live outside. Venture outdoors and an abundance of spiders can be found in even a small residential yard. I recently compiled a list of all the types of spiders that I have found in our rural yard in central Ohio over the past 20 years.
Down among the thatch of dead grass and leaves at the soil surface is a world teeming with bacteria and fungi that break down and recycle dead tissues, creating the basis for the living soil. The microscopic organisms feed a plethora of others. By kneeling down and parting the grass with our hands or a stick, we get a glimpse into this microcosmos. Peering closely, we will likely observe one of its most active inhabitants: spiders. Spiders are ubiquitous in soil-surface communities. This abundance lives literally under our feet, yet we seldom notice.