Arizona Field Trip – April 2018

Erin Brandt let me join her on a field trip to help collect jumping spiders for her research…and of course allowed me to collect selenopids. Erin is a member of the Elias Lab at UC Berkeley where she works on jumping spider behavior and physiology.

Member of the Selenops debilis group…still trying to figure out who’s who.
Everyone loves jumping spiders…even when they are on poo.

Colombia Field Trip – February 2018

I was fortunate enough to be sent by my supervisor Dr. Lauren Esposito to Colombia to work in the lab and conduct fieldwork with Dr. Eduardo Florez and students at the National University of Colombia, Bogotá. We did the most of our work in Lloró, Chocó. I got to see old friends, like Franklyn Cala-Riquelme with whom I’ve spent time with in Jamaica doing fieldwork and writing papers, William Galvis with whom I’ve worked on a few projects concerning selenopids (of course!) in Colombia as well as a paper on spiders of the ABC Islands published in the Journal of Caribbean Science, and Valentina Muñoz Charry, who I am also working with on a selenopid project (go figure!).

A few pictures are posted below, but to see more images from this trip, click here.

Leaving Lloró to the field station.
O hai!
Jewel Caterpillar
Scorpion under UV
Me N Snakey Friend


New paper! – February 2018

Research I worked on with colleague Yu Zeng from UC Merced was published in the Journal of Experimental Biology. This paper has received a lot of media attention due to the cool videos, but the research is also cool and has practical applications for bioinspired robotics. First, these spiders are one of the only animals that strikes from any direction (most animals strike in 1 or 2 directions only). Second, they can turn to strike faster than any animal on earth. Finally, the biomechanics behind the strikes has prompted me to examine additional avenues of research to answer questions about how other members of the same family strike, how other flat spiders that aren’t closely related strike their prey, how the animals see, whether they are using their large PLEs, and the neuromechanics of the strikes.


Utah/Idaho Field Trip – August 2017

In August, I did some collecting of Salt Flat Antlike Flower Beetles, Tanarthrus, collecting several species at Carson Sink, Nevada and Utah, including T. salicola shown below. Five species have been found at Carson Sink where they are easily collected using a UV light. These specimens will eventually be used for research I do on salt flats. You can see more photos from this trip here.


Mostly midges and mosquitoes are visible here, but there were also several Tanarthrus beetles that came to the light.
Tanarthrus salicola cruising around on the salt flats around Salt Lake.

We also met up with my sister, her husband, and my nieces in Idaho to watch the eclipse.

THE ECLIPSE, Thornton, Idaho.
My niece staring at the sun.