Life on a Silken Thread
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Spiders get remarkably bad press—yet they are highly beneficial members of every terrestrial ecosystem. The dominant terrestrial predators on Earth, spiders are nature's primary insect exterminators, helping to control many destructive and sometimes disease-bearing species in our houses and gardens. Linda Rayor, lecturer and senior research associate in the Department of Entomology, is the curator of one of the largest, most diverse spider collections in the country and the star of Science Channel's Monster Bug Wars. She will lead our exploration of many threads of spider biology and behavior. In lecture, in the field (including one nocturnal foray), and in the lab, we'll observe live spiders, scorpions, vinegaroons, and their cousins. We will discuss spider biology, predatory behavior, mate selection and courtship, poisonous spiders, social spiders, and spiders as agents of biological control. Be prepared to admire, and even grow fond of, these remarkable creatures!
A faculty member in the Department of Entomology at Cornell, Linda Rayor has won numerous teaching awards for her courses on spider biology and insect behavior as well as for her course on how to do effective scientific outreach. She directs a large K-12 science outreach program that emphasizes backyard... > more