When writing about bugs, spiders, mammals and other animals, the names of these critters necessarily come into play. Not just the common, everyday names we laypeople apply, but the scientific names given to them by the scientists who devote their lives to collecting, analyzing, and comparing them with other critters. The more we learn about these animals, the more we should also want to learn about their scientists, both those in the present, and those of the past. Many are not with us any longer.
For example, one erstwhile acquainance of mine–we met over the telephone and in cyberspace, discussing various and sundry things arachnological–was a fellow by the name of Robert G. Breene, III. He had a special affinity for the tarantulas, and chaired the American Arachnological Society’s Committee on Common Names of Arachnids. Spider Bob, as he preferred to be known, died last October (2009), before I got around to visiting him at the College of the Southwest, in Carlsbad, New Mexico, to take photographs and prepare a biosketch. Losing the opportunity to meet this colorful “triple Aggie” in person was a wake-up call.
It is about time, methinks, for me to give more than passing attention to the other side of this work. It is not enough to write about spiders. I must also write about those who study them. And that is what this part of Bugs In The News is all about. Oh, I already do that, placing small quips in the spider encounter postings about the papers these scientists have written on the spider at hand. But that’s not enough. You need to see their faces, and you should be given links to their Internet biosketches.
My object in posting these accounts is to enable you, the viewer, to become better informed about those who are now studying and writing about arachnids, as well as to provide historical information on pioneers in the field. And, by the way, the photos shown here were obtained from various sources. Some, unknown to me, may be copyrighted; if so, and the copyright holder prefers not to permit their use on this site, contact me and they will be immediately removed and–if possible–replaced at some future date with free-use images. This listing is for the benefit of the public, and for those arachnologists who wish to participate. Anyone whose photo or image is posted here but prefers not to be included should e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone me at (512) 331-1111. Removal requests will be honored immediately, no questions asked.
Hover your cursor over an image to preview additional text, then click on the image to link to its post. These images contain previews, and are linked to the arachnologist’s personal website–if one exists–or with an official bio on the Internet, or, if neither exists, to a brief biosketch posted here. If you have photographs or anecdotes to share about your favorite arachnologists, send them in. Viewers are invited to use the comment space provided below each post. Additional images are in process and will be posted soon: