- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
"But this weekend some of the country's top experts on arachnids — the group that includes not just spiders but scorpions, mites and ticks, among others — will be in Davis to help demystify the amazing creatures, and even name a new species."
So begins a news story posted today on the Capital Public Radio website by Chris Hagan, managing editor, Digital Content for CapRadio. Senior news producer Drew Sandsor interviewed UC Davis arachnologist Jason Bond, who is co-chairing the American Arachnological Society annual meeting, set June 26-30 at UC Davis. (Listen to the interview here and read the text.)
Bond is the associate dean of the UC Davis College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and the Evert and Marion Schlinger Endowed Chair in Insect Systematics, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology.
AAS will kick off the UC Davis conference by co-hosting an open house, "Eight-Legged Encounters," with the Bohart Museum of Entomology. The event takes place from 1 to 4 p.m., Saturday, June 25 in the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane, UC Davis campus. It's free, family friendly, and open to the public.
Some 20 exhibits and hands-on activities--educational and entertaining--will be set up in the hallway of the Academic Surge Building. “There will be everything--spider specimens, live arachnids, activities, artwork, etc., at the open house," said Bond, adding that a powerhouse of the nation's arachnologists will participate.
Students 18 and under will be invited to name a newly discovered trapdoor spider species from the genus Promyrmekiaphila. Conference co-host and postdoctoral research associate Lisa Chamberland is coordinating the spider-species naming project with second-year doctoral student Emma Jochim of the Bond lab and incoming doctoral student Iris Bright.
In addition to the open house, AAS has scheduled a series of arachnid lectures, free and open to the public, from 7:30 to 9 p.m. Tuesday, June 28, in the newly constructed 600-seat lecture hall, California Hall.
In the meantime, listen to Sandsor's interview with Jason Bond. You'll learn more about why spiders are essential to the ecosystem, why they are spectacular, and what spiders he likes best.
What's your favorite spider? And have you ever photographed them?