What are you doing for fun this weekend? This morning, the students and I are going out on a collecting trip — we’re going to drive outside of our survey area and just go nuts, prowling around bushes and buildings and parks, looking for novel spider species we hadn’t seen before, and scooping up all the P. tep we encounter to fill up our colony. We’ve got ten healthy egg sacs maturing in the incubator and a swarm of spiderlings to care for, but I’m a little bit paranoid because Winter Is Coming and I know the current bounty of diversity is going to die off fast. I also want to avoid last winter’s problem of a) the male shortage, and b) excessive inbreeding.
Besides, spiders are neat-o, right?
A recommendation: the people who made iNaturalist, the California Academy of Sciences and the National Geographic Society, have come out with a new app for your smartphone, Seek. It’s amazing. Point your phone camera at a tree, a leaf, an insect, anything, and it scans the live image and homes in on a species ID. It’s the most magical thing ever since my grad school days when I’d go for walks with Jim Kezer, an old-school herpetologist, who could give you the Latin binomial for any organism you showed him.
Try it, you’ll like it. It’s not quite as folksy and fun as Jim Kezer was, but it’s handy.
Anyway, we’re going to be out and about in the local small towns and parks, photographing and collecting spiders this morning. I hope your plans are as exciting.