Spiders and Their Relatives

Medium wide shot of five people in a forest clearing near a tree stump. One woman hold a specimen-collecting net.

This workshop is designed for students, nature enthusiasts, biologists and anyone who wants to learn about this important, but much maligned arthropod group. The emphasis of this workshop will be on spider field identification, taxonomy, ecology and behavior, utilizing the rich and intensively studied spider fauna found in the Chiricahua Mountain area of southeastern Arizona. We will also hunt for other arachnids frequenting the area including scorpions, solpugids and whip scorpions.

Field trips will provide participants with collecting, sampling and observation techniques, as well as, opportunities for specimen and data collection. Both on field trips and in the lab, participants will gain hands on experience in the experimental techniques utilized in the study of spider behavior and ecology. Instruction on specimen identification, preservation and labeling will take place in the lab, which will be available for participant use throughout the course. Formal lectures will be kept to a minimum, but we will gather together for frequent short discussions and help sessions.

Participants in the workshop will have ample time to collect data and/or perform short experiments in the field or in the lab on questions that interest them. Participants may choose to work alone or in groups on these mini-projects, some of which may be assigned as challenges to be completed during the course of a field trip. Each participant will share the results of the their investigations in a final evening get together and will leave the course with a small spider collection they have created.