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5 years 6 months ago #50774 by Transverse fovea
The author is a twat, but the book's okay.

I'm not going to defend anything, or counter anything that's been said about the book (I'ts had good and bad reviews, so you'll have to make up your own mind), I'll just briefly explain a few things about the book.

1. True, it's not ideal not having an index, but to be fair, the provinces are indexed, so if you're using it to ID something, you can go straight to the relevant province and page forward. Some people will know why I didn't index species, but for newcomers, let me explain.
Before this book (or after), there was nothing else published anywhere that would have been of any use to visually ID any of the Southern African Harpactirinae.

- Okay, I guess it's easy enough to have a stab at Ceratogyrus darlingi, Ceratogyrus brachycephalus, Augacephalus junodi or Harpactira hamiltoni (or admittedly any others with enough outwardly defining characters), but for anyone that's as anal, regarding being completely sure, as I am, there was nobody in South Africa that could look at 90% of Harpactirinae and give a definitive answer -

I am 99% sure of all the pictured species in the book, having compared certain specimens to types at the SAM, and using localities and descriptions for others, but I am by no means a recognised taxonomist, so to label all the spiders in the book would have been relying on "guess work", and I was not prepared to publish under those assumptions.
Therefore, it was impossible to create an index of species, when the species (and genus in some cases) were not confirmed.
HOWEVER, I have in most cases stated what the species is, in my opinion, and for anyone who trusts my judgement enough, you are welcome to use my genus and species names.
Of course, there are certain species which are immediately outwardly identifiable, and these species have been listed according to genus and species in the book.

2. Yes, the book is pretty expensive, although many people don't realise how big the book is [27.5cm(H) x 21cm(W)], or that the book has 160 pages and I think there are about 350 photos.

3. People have said that because the photos of the spiders are on similar soil background, it's pretty boring. Well that's fair enough. It was however done for a purpose, and that was to create similarity for referencing colouration of the spiders. You will notice huge differences in colour when photographing the same spider on red or white soil or on black clay. And when trying to reference spiders of similar species, the colour can be quite important. It's not an excuse, I agree that it can be pretty boring, but the alternative would be to photograph each spider on a white or grey board, which would be ridiculously boring. Anyway, you decide for yourself.

4. It really is not a book for anyone looking for written information. It does cover the basics in terms of descriptions, which species to expect in the various provinces, and helps to differentiate certain genera, but it is a pictorial guide, therefore, rather expect lots of photos.

I think I've covered all the points touched on. If you decide to buy the book, I sincerely hope that you enjoy it.

Take care

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5 years 6 months ago #50775 by Marius
Thanks for taking the time to comment Patrick. And for the book!

Simply, for someone new to spiders using the book as a reference, it would be handy to hear/read a name and look up the picture.

Thank you for the 'boring' background actually. Bulk of the online resources are useless because of the reason you stated.

Compared to other image heavy books covering art, architecture even graphic novels, this book is very well priced!

I'm not impossible. I'm being improbable.

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