While spiders are mostly harmless, many people scream, run away or stomp on them at first sight. Thus the vast biodiversity of arachnids is often overlooked due to their frightening appearance. From Oc. 24 to Jan. 31, the exhibit “Arachnophilia: A Passion for Spiders” was on display at Mann Library.
As an entomologist, Marshall seeks to ask, “How should we begin to understand what a species is and what it means to the ecosystem?” Enthusiastic to observe firsthand the development of the bot fly, this question led Marshall to research its life cycle and he followed its growth like an advent calendar.
Degner said the two most popular exhibits were the butterfly room and the arthropod zoo, calling their subjects “big and charismatic insects.” He added that the department doubled the amount of butterflies in the butterfly room this year.
“Never in my wildest dreams did I envision myself with a couple thousand spiders in my lab,” said senior lecturer Dr. Linda Rayor, entomology. As a behavioral ecologist, Rayor focuses on the interactions of group-living animals — currently spiders — and teaches an array of classes ranging from insect behavior to scientific outreach. Rayor said she decided to become a scientist at a very young age, but never foresaw a future working with insects and arachnids. As a child, Rayor said she remembers frequenting the Denver Zoo in Colorado, which she said helped kindle her interest in science, natural investigation and animals. Despite this, she said she chose to pursue molecular biology as an undergraduate at University of Colorado Boulder.