The fascinating variety of spider ways and forms, plus Patent's ability to highlight them, make this a better-than-usual survey of a common type. Readers learn not only the construction details of the elegant orb web, but also the different hunting ploys of many spiders who don't spin webs. Spiders, we,re told, hear, feel, and smell with their legs and see almost nothing, though they possess up to eight eyes each. They can grow only when molting, which might take as little time as half an hour. Some spiders, we're shown, look amazingly like ants, a survival benefit as ants taste bad and thus are left pretty much alone. Despite the ""solitary ferocity"" of most of them, spider communities do exist. But during mating, male spiders must be wary of their much larger mates. All spiders are prey to the pirate spider, whose nearest relatives are its favorite food. People, however, have nothing to fear from the mistakenly dreaded tarantula--but should know that the black widow, whose bite is nasty, is common in all 48 continental states. For those who'd like to observe the creatures and their work at first hand, Patent closes with some tips on collecting webs and keeping tarantulas as pets.