Adult Programs

Arachnology Course with Paula Cushing

Little Miss Muffet may have been afraid, but you won’t be as you learn about spiders and other arachnids such as scorpions, camel spiders, daddy longlegs, and ticks. Review the evolutionary history of arachnids, the natural history and biology of the different groups, and the medical and economic importance of these animals. Live guests may drop by for an eight-legged howdy do!

Biography: Paula Cushing received her Ph.D. in 1995 from the University of Florida. In 1998, she began her position as Curator at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. Her research focuses on the biodiversity, taxonomy, systematics, and evolutionary ecology of arachnids, particularly spiders and wind scorpions, or solifuges. She has published numerous scientific articles as well as popular articles about spiders and insects. She is also very active with the American Arachnological Society and the International Society of Arachnology and has served as President of both these scientific societies.


Tuesday, October 1st

Introduction to Subphylum Chelicerata, Class Arachnida

· Pycnogonida and Xiphosura

· Palpigradi – micro-whip scorpions

· Opiliones – daddy longlegs or harvestmen

· Acarina – mites and ticks (begin, live guests)

Thursday, October 3rd

· Acarina – continued; microscope exercise

· Ricinulei – hooded tick-spiders

· Pseudoscorpiones -- pseudoscorpions

· Solifugae – camel spiders or wind scorpions

Tuesday, October 8th

· Solifugae – continued (sex video!)

· Scorpiones– scorpions (live guests)

· Schizomida – short-tailed whip-scorpions

Thursday, October 10th

· Amblypygi – tailless whip scorpions (live guest)

· Thelyphonida – vinegaroon or whip scorpion (live guest)

· Araneae – spiders (just a taste and live guests (but not a taste of live guests!)

Invertebrates and Music Walks 2024 

Why have composers been fascinated by invertebrates, and how have they tried to capture them in their music? You are invited to ""Invertebrates and Music Walks,"" a collaboration between naturalist Dave Sutherland, Boulder Philharmonic, and Butterfly Pavilion. Join us for a stroll through our tropical rainforest, while listening to classical music selections inspired by the world of invertebrates. Led by Dave, immerse yourself in curated compositions as butterflies flutter around us. Conclude your journey outside in Butterfly Pavilion's Discovery Gardens, where specially crafted music invites exploration of invertebrates' lives. Let curiosity guide you through this fusion of sound and nature, where every step reveals a new melody and every encounter unveils unseen beauty.




Dave Southerland


Boulder Philharmonic




• These walks are of low difficulty but involve trail walking.

• Please dress appropriately for the outdoor environment, including breathable clothes, sturdy walking shoes, and sunscreen

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