Associate Curator Charles Griswold dedicated his Monday afternoon to teach interns about the Academy’s Entomology collection which consists of 20,000,000 specimens and nearly 500,000 species. Dr. Griswold specializes in arachnids and taught interns about various webs spun by different species of spiders. By making sense of spider webs, we can learn much about the behavioral evolution of spiders.
As interns headed out to do some field work, Dr. Griswold demonstrated three different collecting techniques using corn starch puffers, beating sheets, and sifters.
Corn starch puffers are small bulb pipettes that blow small amounts of powdered corn starch to help expose and detect spider webs. Beating sheets are made up of heavy duty cloth held together by two wooden sticks. They are used primarily for trees, branches, and bushes to help shake insects out for collection. Sifters are used for sifting out insects hiding in dirt and fallen leaves on the ground.