The morning presentations focused on education- and field-related research and initiatives. Seven of us spent the afternoon examining the Catalina State Park flora and arthropod fauna.
Midway through our hike, led by Dayna Cooper, one of the group members pulled out a thermometer and announced the current temperature was 110, causing me to again realize that 110 in the Sonoran Desert is still a WHOLE LOT more comfortable than mid 90s during a typical humid day in July or August in east central IL. The evening culminated in a large group picnic at Catalina State Park with more blacklighting.
I came back to the hotel, washed all of the clothes I’ve worn during the week thus far in the shower, and hung them on the balcony. Unlike home, I can count on them being dry in the morning when I wake up when I’m here in Arizona. Still have pictures to process.
Tomorrow promises to be interesting. Presentations regarding 1) species boundaries in Aphonopelma tarantulas, 2) efforts to reintroduce the American burying beetle to Missouri, 3) using margined burying beetles as a surrogate species for the endangered American burying beetle in conservation efforts, 4) the Omaha Zoo’s efforts to rear mass quantities of tarantulas in novel habitat (conservation implications and reduction of harvest of wild specimens for the pet trade), 5) captive breeding and color variability in oblong winged katydids (you may have seen the pink mutation that crops up in wild populations), 6) nutritional value of various items used in diets of zoo arthropods, and 7) impact of Wolbachia bacteria on a variety of arthropods promise to fill the morning with lots of new ideas.
The afternoon will be devoted to workshops. The annual banquet takes place in the evening.