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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.

Syllabus:

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!)

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