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Vladimir Ovtsharenko

OLogy Series
ologist
card
159

Vladimir Ovtsharenko

OLogy Series
ologist

Since he was a boy, Vladimir Ovtsharenko has been fascinated by nature. Growing up, he loved collecting spiders, beetles, and butterflies for fun. Vladimir began studying spiders while in high school. As an arachnologist at the American Museum of Natural History, this curious "spider man" identifies new species and figures out how different spiders are related to each other.

In what kind of spiders is Vlad especially interested?

orb weaver spiders

ground spiders of Australia

black widows

Are you right?

Correct!

Vlad is especially interested in studying the ground spiders of Australia. Unlike many spiders, ground spiders don't spin webs. They live in soil, leaf litter, under rocks, and under the bark of trees.

A college professor discouraged Vlad from studying spiders because:

the professor was afraid that Vlad would get bitten

beetles and butterflies are prettier and easier to collect

very little information was written about spiders at the time

Are you right?

Correct!

Vlad took college classes while he was still in high school. One of the classes was all about insect and spider collecting. Vlad wanted to study spiders because people didn't know much about them.

Vladimir Ovtsharenko

When I was in high school I was watching very complicated behavior of spiders, and from that time on, I decided to study these amazing creatures.

One way that Vlad studies spiders is by dissecting (DY-sek-ting) them.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fact

Sometimes scientists like Vlad dissect the animals they study. This gives Vlad a closer look at its anatomy. It also helps him understand the animal even more.

The American Museum of Natural History houses the largest spider collection in the world.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fact

The Museum has over a million spiders, making it the largest collection of its kind. Most of the spider specimens are kept in alcohol, which helps preserve them.

Date of Birth: November 5, 1952
Hometown: Nalchik, Russia
Position: research scientist in the Division of Invertebrate Zoology at the American Museum of Natural History
Education: M.S., St. Petersburg State University; Ph.D., Zoological Institute
Known for: studying spiders with a specialization in Australian ground spiders

Image credits: courtesy of AMNH; Vladimir Ovtsharenko: courtesy of AMNH.