Guided Night Hike to Mount Beacon with arachnologist Dr. Stephanie Loria

On Saturday, July 16, The Metropolitan Society of Natural Historians embarked on a guided evening hike to Mount Beacon led by arachnologist Dr. Stephanie Loria. We learned about arthropod diversity, evolution and reproduction. Along the way, we spotted hundreds of gypsy moth adults, pupae and eggs on the trees. Gypsy moths are an invasive species defoliating the forests of eastern North American. Once at the summit and while enjoying the beautiful sunset, Loria showed us some exciting North American arachnid, insect and myriapod specimens from her teaching collecting. We then descended down in the dark and spotted some brightly fluorescent mushrooms, partially fluorescent millipedes, orb weavers, a click beetle, a frog, harvestmen and long horned-beetles.

Dr. Stephanie Loria is president and co-founder of the MSNH and is a member of the Scorpion Systematics Research Group at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH). She received her B.S. at Sewanee: The University of the South where she studied population genetics of cave millipedes and completed her Ph.D in December 2015 at the Richard Gilder Graduate School at the AMNH with world-renowned scorpion expert Dr. Lorenzo Prendini. Dr. Loria's research focuses on the diversity and evolution of South and South-East Asian scorpions. She has traveled across the globe for her Ph.D research collecting scorpions and studying specimens in natural history museums. 

To learn more about arachnids, check out the Arachnids book by arachnologist Jan Beccaloni from the Natural History Museum in London.

A great resource for insect identification is Bug Guide.

For millipede identification, great resources are available on Milli-PEET.

To view more photos from this event taken by Maurice Chen, visit our gallery.