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Tarantulas & other Impressive Inverts from the Guiana Shield's

Land of Giants”


Peter Taylor, Zoologist

Where:                Linder Theater, AMNH, enter West 77th Street entrance

Date:                   Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Time:                   7 PM to 8:30 PM

Peter will tell of his discoveries regarding some of the larger mygalomorph spiders found in northern South America. In addition, he will talk about scorpions and other impressive invertebrate species native to Guyana’s sparsely populated Region #9, “Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo, and French Guiana (Guyane’). Years of field observations in the area have revealed fascinating insights into the ecology and behavior of these cryptic and often unjustly feared creatures. Among many discoveries is the occurrence of one arboreal tarantula, a representative of a genus far outside its previously known range. Peter will discuss the role of tropical Pepsis wasps (“tarantula hawks”) as they impact the life history of local spider species. Examples of centipede, millipede, orthopteran, lepidopteran, and other arthropod species will round out the roster to provide a sampling of the spectacular, “lesser fauna” to be found in this remarkably intact and highly biodiverse region.


Peter Taylor has enjoyed a consuming, life-long, broad interest in natural history and zoology.  At a young age, he maintained large, live collections of many animal species and amassed literature on many subjects. He has worked in nature centers and veterinary practices, and in his 18-year career has served in Herpetology Departments at the Bronx Zoo (Keeper) and St. Louis Zoo (Zoological Manager). While in St. Louis, Peter earned an MS degree in tropical ecology at the University of Missouri.  He has lectured on many aspects of zoology, animal maintenance, and biological diversity to audiences over the years.


On and off the job, field assignments and dedicated trips have taken Peter to a wide range of sites, first in the US and eventually to 30 countries, 21 of those in the tropics, with special extended expeditions made in Mexico, Honduras, Guyana, Brazil, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea.  A new, endemic species of large gecko (Gehyra rohan Oliver, Clegg, Fisher, Richards, Taylor, & Jocque, 2016) was discovered in Papua New Guinea.


Peter’s most extensive field endeavor has come through the establishment of Caiman House Field Station in Yupukari Village, Region #9 Guyana, operational since 2005. The pilot project for the Rupununi savannahs-based station has been the continuing study of the black caiman, Melanosuchus niger. Caiman House has supported many other projects and initiatives for students and scientists while incorporating ecotourist income for the Village. The ability to be in residence for long periods has allowed observation of the area’s full range of impressive, lightly impacted, and biodiverse fauna & flora.

Society meetings are always open to the public with no admission charge.

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