Survey Turns Up Unknown Spiders

Listen Now

Now, here's something that might make you squeamish. We’re going to talk about spiders -- and spider genitalia. That's because examining spider private parts is the best way to tell one species from another. Paula Cushing is a spider expert at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. She’s in charge of the Colorado Spider Survey, which has been going on for 13 years. In that time, Cushing’s made some big discoveries, such as a spider so small, it couldn’t be identified at first. Ryan Warner talks with Paula Cushing.

The Colorado Spider Survey operates with the help of volunteers, also called “citizen scientists.” This weekend, Cushing is doing a volunteer training. To learn more, you can email her at [email protected].

[First photo: Paula E. Cushing]

[Next three photos: Rick Teichler, citizen scientist and volunteer for the Colorado Spider Survey.]