THE present work will be completed in two volumes. The first 
deals chiefly with the distribution of British spiders and the influence 
of climate and environment. The second views them in relation to the 
other creatures which inhabit the world. The two together provide an 
account of the comity of spiders. 
If without deep thought we were to draw up plans in the manner of 
an engineer for the construction of a hypothetical spider intended to 
compete with all others, we might feel inclined to specify large size, 
agility, good eyesight, a venomous bite, protective or aggressive 
coloration, and an ingenious snare for catching prey. How then can we 
account for the fact that in Britain nearly half the species and numeri 
cally more than half the spider population belong to one family, the 
Linyphiidae, which possess not one of these characters in high 
degree? To what factor or factors do they owe their dominance? 
The challenge of this particular problem first decided me to collect 
data for the present book. I have not contented myself with seeking an 
answer to this question alone   other problems appear in plenty   but 
when I do attempt to provide my answer towards the close of the 
second volume the choice of subjects for review in the limited space 
available will become more evident. For the most part I have 
concentrated on a study of British spiders, but I have not hesitated to 
complete the picture with examples from or comparisons with their 
relations overseas. 
For one like myself who is employed in an office during the day it 
is no easy matter to consult libraries, undertake extensive field work, 
and devote the necessary 

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