Editor’s Choice: Peering into the pits of rotted stumps, poring over craggy tree bark, and most importantly, pausing. Patient and still, awaiting subtle movements that betray the presence of tiny, cryptic, eight-legged predators. A mantra in the nature museum field is “connect with nature,” an aspiration conjuring up images of vast landscapes or charismatic megafauna. In this story, we flip the size scale to consider the ubiquitous, understated, and ever-fascinating spider. — AWA —

Excerpt: When more than 3,000 entomologists descend on Denver at the end of next week, they’ll arrive in the territory of at least one army of bug collectors already on the ground—only a scant few of whom call themselves entomologists. They’re the amateur scientists and entomology enthusiasts that drive the Colorado Spider Survey, a citizen science program run by the Denver Museum of Nature and Science (DMNS). With nearly 38,000 fully curated vials of arachnid specimens collected since 1999 (and more still to be processed), it is the largest spider collection in the state. Entomology Today spoke with Paula Cushing, Ph.D., curator of invertebrate zoology at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science (DMNS), to learn about how she built the program and about the ups and downs of running a volunteer-driven collection.

Citizen scientists who have contributed specimens to the Colorado Spider Survey have helped to fill gaps in knowledge about the distribution and diversity of arachnids in Colorado. (Photo credit: Denver Museum of Nature and Science)

Source: Entomology Today, 2017. The Biggest Collection of Spiders in Colorado is Built on Citizen Science, 24 October, 2017. Available at: https://entomologytoday.org/2017/10/24/the-biggest-collection-of-spiders-in-colorado-is-built-on-citizen-science/ [Last accessed 5 December 2017].