When researchers and the public work together, it's always a reason to celebrate. Join us at Citizen Science and Cocktails events to hear from researchers about their citizen science projects.
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Check out this interview with Lila Higgins and Sam Easterson, the folks behind the Spider Pavilion!
Spiders are extremely important animals. They exist in vast numbers and are the primary predators of the equally common insects. Because they are so common, they often come into contact with people, and we receive many telephone calls requesting information about spiders. Many people needlessly fear spiders, but most are harmless to humans.
In spite of their importance and abundance, we do not know much about the spiders in Los Angeles. There are no truly large collections of urban spiders from this area, as most collectors concentrate on studying natural areas. As an important international port, new species of spiders from various parts of the world are always being accidentally introduced into the Los Angeles area, and some of these have established breeding populations. We need to know how widespread these introduced species have become, and how they have interacted with the native spiders. Also, we want to know how urbanization and the loss of natural habitat has affected populations and distributions of naturally occurring spiders.
In order to conduct a large-scale survey of urban spiders, we need the help of the public. We are asking people to collect spiders in their homes and gardens, fill out a simple data sheet about their collection, and send or bring them to the Natural History Museum.
Once the specimens arrive here, our team of experts will identify the specimens, make a collecting record, and place the spiders in the collection. If requested, we will contact the person submitting the spider with information about its identity. Spiders collected in the survey will be used to create a database about the distribution and abundance of the species. We will report our major results on this website.
Want to help? Go to the How to Participate section for instructions.
Disclaimer: The Museum appreciates your assistance in this scientific project. If you have any concerns about participating, we suggest you do NOT participate. The Museum cannot be responsible for the treatment of bites or for any injury or illness resulting from the project.