On Saturday, September 24, the MSNH joined arachnologist, Dr. Stephanie Loria on a guided night hike to Mount Beacon in the Hudson Valley. The evening began at the base of Mount Beacon where Stephanie explained to us the four major groups of arthropods (Insecta, Chelicerata, Myripoda and Crustacea) and showed us specific characteristics on how to identify them. She also demonstrated different collecting techniques that biologists use to collect arthropods including vegetation beating, sifting and hand collecting, which participants were able to try. We then slowly hiked up to the overlook on the mountain, making stops along the way to look for arthropods. Once there, Stephanie showed us some spider and millipede specimens from her teaching collection and discussed how to sex them and recognize characteristics of specific groups. Just after sunset, we slowly trekked back down the mountain to observe some of the arthropod night activity including spider web spinning and insect foraging.
To view more photos from this event, please visit our gallery. All photo credit goes to Lam Ngo.
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. in 2011 at Sewanee: The University of the South and completed her Ph.D. in 2015 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, a postdoc in the Arachnology Lab at the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco and a visiting researcher at the Centrum für Naturkunde at the Universität Hamburg in Hamburg, Germany. Dr. Loria's research focuses on the diversity and evolution of scorpions and millipedes and she has traveled across the globe for fieldwork and to work with historic collections in natural history museums.
Arachnology Lab Group at the American Museum of Natural History
A helpful user-based identification tool for identifying critters in your house: Bug Guide
Great website for amateurs and student resources for learning how to identify millipedes: Milli-PEET