The FSC Spiders AIDGAP is an identification guide to the 34 families of spiders in Britain.
There are two keys, providing different routes to identification. Firstly there is a traditional dichotomous key to spider families. This key uses morphological characters that are visible under low-power magnification. Secondly there is a tabular guide to spider families, including a range of behavioural and ecological characters. Accompanying text includes sections on spider morphology, biology and ecology.
Over 600 species of spider occur in Britain and Ireland. They are an important component of terrestrial ecosystems. Spiders are exclusively carnivorous, and they are often present in great numbers. As a result they are extremely significant in the food chain.
This spiders guide is part of the FSC’s AIDGAP series (Aids to Identification in Difficult Groups of Animals and Plants). The aim of AIDGAP series is to produce accessible keys suitable for non-specialists from age 16+. Although written by specialists, all AIDGAP guides go through field tests in draft form. As with all guides in the series, the Spiders AIDGAP underwent extensive testing before publication, by beginners and specialists alike. The author has revised this, the first published version, in the light of the testers’ experience.
Accurate identification of specimens is an important part of biological fieldwork. Although popular groups such as wild flowers and butterflies are well-served, many other groups are neglected. Since 1976, the AIDGAP project has published over 40 straightforward and clearly written identification keys to many different groups of plants, animals and other taxa. In many cases a newly published AIDGAP guide has led to an immediate upsurge in the number and spread of biological records.