A close look at Solifugae of the family Mummuciidae:
Emphasis on morphology & ongoing efforts to untangle the
Speaker: Ricardo Botero-Trujillo
Doctoral Fellow, División Aracnología, Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales "Bernardino Rivadavia" - CONICET, Argentina
Associate Researcher, Laboratorio de Entomología, Unidad de Ecología y Sistemática, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Bogotá, Colombia
Where: Kaufman Theater, AMNH, enter West 77th Street entrance
Date: Tuesday, September 13, 2016 - Please note, date is one week earlier than normal
Time: 7 PM to 8:30 PM
One of Ricardo’s favorite arthropods is the solifuges, arachnids commonly known as “camel spiders”, “sun spiders”, and “wind scorpions”. The arachnid order, Solifugae, derives from Latin, and translates to "those that flee from the sun". Unfortunately, Solifugae is one of the least studied arachnid orders. Despite the common names, solifuges are not spiders (not camels, either) and not scorpions. Their unique morphological characters allow them to be easily differentiated from spiders and other arthropod groups. Their chelicerae are pincer-like and disproportionately large in relation to their bodies. In most cases, these are armed with well-developed teeth, with which virtually any prey can be held and carved or sliced up. Solifuges are also recognized for the presence of a strange-looking structure on the male chelicerae. The “flagellum” represents a secondary sexual structure unique to solifuges, and it provides useful information for the taxonomy of the group at different levels. They also possess leg-like pedipalps with adhesive organs at their tips and on their hind legs there are fan-shaped sensory organs called racket organs or malleoli.
Solifuges are quite abundant in xeric to semi-arid ecosystems, and thousands of specimens have been deposited in the World’s largest systematic collections. However, the taxonomy of solifuges has been comparatively less studied than that of most other orders of Arachnida, and, therefore, our current knowledge about the group is still far from complete.
Ricardo Botero Trujillo’s talk will introduce us to the arachnid order and to the taxonomy of one of the 12 extant solifuge families. Mummuciidae is restricted to the New World, occurring from Ecuador southward to the Chilean and Argentinian Patagonia, and consists entirely of diurnal, small, fast-running species. This talk, which will be rich in photographs of the chelicerae of different species, will serve as a quick-look at the morphology and diversity of this family. He’ll cover some biological and behavioral characteristics of the order with the aid of videos and photographs.
Ricardo Botero Trujillo earned his Biology degree from the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, Bogotá. In 2003, he began taxonomic work on scorpions from his native country, Colombia, and as of 2008, hooded tick-spiders (Ricinulei, another arachnid order) became part of his research interests. As you may have guessed by now, they’re not ticks and not spiders. This research will have to be a future presentation! In 2013, following a 5-year period working in the pharmaceutical industry, Ricardo moved to Buenos Aires, Argentina to begin his Ph.D. Ricardo has been funded by a 3-year Doctoral Fellowship from the “Fondo para la Investigación Científica y Tecnológica (FONCYT)”, and currently by a 2-year Fellowship from the “Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET),” Argentina. His doctoral thesis consists of a taxonomic revision and phylogenetic analysis of the South American sun-spider family Mummuciidae.
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