On Saturday, August 25, The Metropolitan Society of Natural Historians embarked on a guided evening hike to Mount Beacon led by arachnologist, Dr. Stephanie Loria. We learned about the various arthropod groups, particularly arachnids and myriapods and discussed their diversity and evolution. To start the hike, Loria showed us some collecting techniques that arachnologists use to capture specimens including leaf litter sifting and beat sheets and allowed participants to try these techniques to observe the diversity of small arthropods arounds us. After a vigorous hike up the mountain, we arrived at the summit. While enjoying the beautiful sunset, Stephanie showed us some exciting North American arachnid and myriapod specimens from her teaching collecting and explained how biologists capture and preserve specimens in the field to document biodiversity and use them for research studies. She also shared some of her favorite books on arachnids that have excellent pictures and are easy reads. We then descended down in the dark and spotted some millipedes with fluorescent feet, a fishing spider, wolf spiders, jumping spiders, orb weaving spiders, lots of harvestmen, centipedes and one vertebrate (a toad).
To view more photos from this event, visit here. A special thank you to Patrick Paglen and Mitchell Bernstein for taking photos of our event! All photo credit in our gallery goes to Patrick. Mitchell's photos and video can be viewed in our Facebook Group.
To learn more about arachnids, check out the Arachnids book by arachnologist Jan Beccaloni from the Natural History Museum in London.
To learn more about the fossil record for Arachnida, check out this Fossil Arachnids, by arachnologist Jason Dunlop.
A great resource for insect identification is Bug Guide.
For millipede identification, great resources are available on Milli-PEET.
To see a fun video on scorpion sensory hairs, check out Tricho Bells.
To see an interview with Stephanie and some specimens from the American Museum of Natural History, check out her AMNH interview or watch her featured in a field trip to Malaysia with the California Academy of Sciences arachnid curator, Lauren Esposito.
For any other inquires, feel free to email Stephanie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Trip Leader: Dr. Stephanie Loria is president and co-founder of the MSNH and postdoctoral researcher in the Scorpion Systematics Research Group at the American Museum of Natural History. 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. at the Richard Gilder Graduate School of the American Museum of Natural History. Since completing her Ph.D., she served as an adjunct instructor at SUNY: College at Old Westbury and a postdoc in the Arachnology Lab at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco. Loria's research focuses on the diversity and evolution of Southeast Asian scorpions and millipedes. She has traveled across the globe for her research collecting scorpions and studying specimens in natural history museums.