Hardback - September 2009 - AU $20.00 On sale until 13-May usually AU $69.95

The definitive guide to the world's spiders, ticks and scorpions.

For many people, long-legged spiders, venomous scorpions and blood-sucking ticks are the stuff of nightmares, but to others they are a source of constant fascination. Arachnids dispels common myths and misconceptions to reveal the truth about these weird, wonderful and often beautiful creatures. + Full description

With the use of examples from around the globe, the book brings together the current knowledge of the world of arachnids. It describes in accessible language their unique biology, adaptable anatomy and often unusual behaviour. Did you know that spiders often show a high level of parental care, with some actually regurgitating food for their babies? Or that a scorpion’s sting is not in its tail?

The class of Arachnida does not consist of spiders alone but also contains ten other orders including harvestmen, ticks and mites, scorpions, palpigrades, schizomids and many others which are lesser known.

Museum Curator Janet Beccaloni explores each of the eleven orders, their varied habitats and their often complex relationships. She also explains arachnid courtship, feeding techniques, defence strategies, silk production, as well as the unusual practice of autotomy – the deliberate shedding of a body part.

Illustrated by many interesting and often bizarre facts, and with over 200 striking photographs and artworks, this accessible reference will appeal to arachnid enthusiasts and those with a wider interest in the natural world.

- Short description


"Overall, this is an informative, beautifully illustrated and fascinating overview of an often maligned group of animals. Hopefully it will lead to greater interest in arachnids, their biology, ecology, behaviour and unique features, not to mention their antiquity and continuing scientific interest to taxonomists, systematists and other researchers."
Julianne Waldock, Australasian Arachnology 81, 2011

"…a wealth of information on each order is present, in non-technical language, to result in a very readable text. This well-produced and attractive book is a valuable source for information on arachnids…"
Tim R New, Journal Insect Conservation, 2010

"...a marvellous book that captures the middle ground between the world of the specialist academic and that of the hobby naturalist. Arachnids is an excellent addition to any naturalists library and the wonderful photographs of rarely encountered groups and easy reading justifies a place on the coffee table."
Graeme Smith, Tarsus, No 590, March 2010

"I wish that 50 years ago I’d had access to such a readable and attractively presented scientific background to my tentative field studies of backyard spiders! Reviewing this book has given me not only a lot of pleasure but an opportunity to learn much that I did not know about the amazing little arachnids that share our world. It is entertaining as well as instructive, and I wholeheartedly recommend it."
Densey Clyne, Metamorphosis Australia, March 2010

"This volume is well produced and good value for money at $69.95. It is an excellent introduction to the fascinating world of arachnids…"
Graham Milledge, Explore, Autumn 2010

"Overall, this is an informative and fascinating overview of an oft-maligned group of animals. Hopefully, this will lead to more interest in arachnids for their biology, ecology, behaviour and unique features, not to mention their antiquity as a group."
Julianne Waldock, WA Naturalist News, July 2010

"It’s been nearly 40 years since we’ve had a general textbook on arachnids, and never one so beautifully presented – the photography is superb. The engaging, enthusiastic style makes the book accessible to readers with even only a little background in biology. This is a fine piece of work and a beautiful introduction to our (mostly) eight-legged friends."
Owen Seeman, Wildlife Australia Magazine, Summer 2009

"Dr Jan Beccaloni has done an outstanding job with this exciting book…a very affordable price considering the quality of production – would be a perfect gift for as budding arachnologist or for anyone interested in knowing and/or understanding more about the so called ‘creepy-crawlies’."
JC Herremans, Linnean Society of New South Wales Newsletter, 134, December 2009

"The publication is well supplemented with some very high quality photographs and diagrams which are well placed and very relevant. For those looking for a comprehensive accessible guide to this group, Arachnids is a worthwhile investment."
Alan Henderson, Australia and New Zealand Zoo and Aquarium Association, November 2009

"Arachnids is a concise, well-written and often beautifully illustrated summary of living arachnid biology."
Jason A. Dunlop, Newsletter of the British Arachnological Society, 2009


Hardback | September 2009 | $ 69.95
ISBN: 9780643096974 | 320 pages | 253 x 192 mm
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Colour photographs


  • Definitive guide to the world's arachnids
  • Stunningly illustrated throughout
  • Written by the Curator of Arachnida and Myriapoda at the Natural History Museum, London


Jan Beccaloni is the Curator of Arachnida and Myriapoda at the Natural History Museum, London. She is also the conservation officer for the British Arachnological Society, keeps pet arachnids at home, and enjoys travelling abroad where (of course) she looks for arachnids. Jan lives near Epping Forest in Essex, UK.