Last week the Scientific American featured a guest blog that described my microscopic imaging work with the Linyphiidae and the online gallery of female erigonine epigyna at LinEpig. The blog post was written by Field Museum bird taxidermist and science essayist Meera Lee Sethi. Here is an excerpt:
"... for 13 years, she’s devoted one day a week to behind-the-scenes work at the Field Museum in Chicago: sorting, identifying, and organizing spiders in the museum’s collections, and in the process turning an enthusiast’s knowledge about arachnids into a slightly demented personal project. As Nina made her way through the museum’s nearctic backlog, sorting spiders collected from North America that had gone unidentified over the years, she accumulated a hefty jar of what she thought looked like erigonines. Using the few, treasured, tools anyone working with the Linyphiidae relied on—three enormous three-ring binders with photocopies of photocopies of the illustrations from the original literature—she made a handful of identifications that were confirmed by experts. But what she saw in the microscope was often far more detailed and striking than what the illustrations showed."