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Spiders of New Zealand and their Worldwide Kin

By Ray and Lyn Forster


Spider of New Zealand'… a mine of information for anyone needing to know anything about New Zealand spiders.' Newsletter, British Arachnological Society

Spiders colonised the Earth long before Gondwanaland began to drift into separate continents. New Zealand spiders have links with spiders worldwide. The authors of this book have pioneered discoveries that have been found to apply to spiders in other parts of Australasia, southern America and southern Africa. 

First published in paperback in 1999 and now published in hardback, this book is the definitive guide to these remarkable creatures, and is ideal for scientist and layperson alike. It explores the anatomy, physiology, behaviour and ecology of both native and introduced spiders. For ease of use, spiders are grouped in different ways, such as habitat, size, and web type. There are also chapters on harmful spiders and how to find and study spiders, and notes on the naming of spiders and early arachnologists.

Review Quotes

'The spider world is hungry for this book! There is nothing available like it - everything else is either weighty scientific tomes or inaccurate introductions with glossy pictures. This is elegant and accurate.' – Dr Robert Raven, President of the International Society of Arachnologists

'rich material for teachers ... I will treasure this book' – Rose Hipkins, New Zealand Education Review


1 Structure and Behaviour
2 Life of a Spider
3 Spider Relatives
4 Trapdoor Spiders and Their Kin: Mygalomorphae
5 Living Fossils: Araneomorphae
6 Free-living Spiders
7 Crab Spiders
8 Hunting Spiders
9 Jumping Spiders
10 Six-eyed Spiders
11 Orbweb Spiders
12 Spaceweb Spiders
13 Midget Spiders
14 Seashore Spiders
15 Hackled-silk Spiders
16 Four Families
17 Harmful Spiders
18 How to Find and Study Spiders
Appendices: World List of Spider families, Notes on Early Arachnologists, Select Bibliography


About the Authors

This book is the result of two lifetimes of work by internationally respected arachnologists. Ray Forster was director of the Otago Museum, and Lyn Forster is a former lecturer and tutor in zoology at the University of Otago. Together they shared a lifetime interest in natural history and are authors of New Zealand Spiders: An Introduction (1973) and Small Land Animals of New Zealand (1970). Ray Forster published many monographs on spiders and both authors have published numerous papers in journals worldwide.


Publication Details

ISBN 1 877372 13 7, hardback 290 x 217 mm, 312 pages, $79.95
Over 200 photographs in colour and 84 in black and white.
Release: October 2005