Dr. Eleanor Spicer Rice and Dr. Christopher M. Buddle, co-authors of “Dr. Eleanor’s Book of Common Spiders”

Dr. Eleanor Spicer Rice and Dr. Christopher M. Buddle—a North Carolina writer who holds a PhD in entomology and the author of “Dr. Eleanor’s Book of Common Ants” series, and an arachnologist who’s dean of students and associate professor in the Department of Natural Resource Science at McGill University, respectively—explain how a tweet from Buddle to Spicer Rice set in motion the collaboration that yielded the book they co-wrote, “Dr. Eleanor’s Book of Common Spiders.” Buddle responds to a question about whether Spicer Rice’s previous books constitute a “brand,” noting that her books do promise accessible, appealing descriptions of species. He also addresses the spectrum of folks ranging from those who feel a bit squeamish about spiders to those experiencing all-out arachnaphobia, and the array of causal factors for those reactions. Spicer Rose notes that, even though she got a Master’s degree and PhD in entomology—and thought nothing of allowing ants to roam in her hair–she herself had contended a fear of spiders…until working on this book. Buddle and Spicer Rice fielded numerous calls from listeners with all kinds of spider questions and questions, including about recluse spiders (Spicer Rice announced that anyone unsure about the identity of one can tweet a photo to @recluseornot and an entologist will respond, part of a project collecting information about recluse spiders), tarantulas, ceiling spiders, black widows (including some notable myth busting), fishing spiders, and others. [photo credits: Raymond Goodman, Yannick Michaud, Matt Bertone, Joe Lapp]

COMEDY CORNER: To provide additional time for our spider conversation, we decided to forgo the comedy piece today.

MUSIC: Rebekah Pulley’s “Talking Animals Theme,” instrumentals

NAME THAT ANIMAL TUNE: The Who’s “Boris The Spider”

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About the author
Duncan Strauss is the producer-host of “Talking Animals,” which he launched at KUCI in California in 2003, combining his passions for animals, radio, journalism, music and comedy. The show has aired since late 2005 on Tampa’s WMNF. Strauss lives in Jupiter Farms, FL with his family, including four cats, two horses and one dog. He spends each day talking to those animals, and maintains they talk right back to him, an as yet unverified claim.

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