|MadSci Network: Zoology|
hi Thomas, As part of my degree I have done a course on spider biology. It is very difficult to identify spiders just by their webs or description. some species can only be identified from their genitalia. It is not true that all spiders are solitary animals. When they emerge from their egg cocoons as spiderlings they often live together before dispersing. some species are social and recently scientists have begun investigating how far this social system works. The spiders do not take on individual tasks such as in the eusocial systems of ants and bees but they have a cooperative system where all the individuals work together to build the web, capture prey etc. I have had some experience in identifying british spider species but I cannot help you with californian ones. perhaps you could ask in your university or college if there are any arachnologists who will be able to help. Alternatively here are some web addresses that might be useful. The arachnology home page lists lots of sites to do with spiders - http://www.ufsia.ac.be/Arachnology/Arachnology.html this site is more specific to california - http://www.paccd.cc.ca.us/instadmn/lifesci/brhebert/spiderinfo.htm I also found the address of The American Arachnological Society= American Arachnological Society, C/o Jon Reiskind, Department of Zoology, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL. 32611. Hope this is useful to you. from clare williams
Try the links in the MadSci Library for more information on Zoology.