Rare Spider Identification

For almost two decades, Dr. William J. Ehmann has traveled to Minnesota for short periods in the summer to aid in a state-wide biodiversity project. His study has focused on locating various, rare jumping spider species. Last summer, he traveled with Diana Jacobsmeyer, Julia Moravec, and Matthew Sandrich—students in conservation biology and environmental sciences partially supported by a grant from CEJS—to continue his research efforts.

The group spent a week visiting eight different counties in central Minnesota. The focus of their work was to determine if the particularly rare spider species in the genus Habronattus were still living in places where they had been found during previous studies. They collected spiders through various methods such as hand searching and sweep netting.

Upon returning to Seattle University, the group continued its work by microscopic identification of their collection of various spiders. They were able to do so by comparing the physiological features of the spiders to an extensive guide of jumping spiders.  Two species were found that had never been reported from Minnesota before, and over twenty county records were established.  In two cases, the known geographic ranges of species were extended.

Now that all the identifications have been confirmed, the group will publish the results of their findings which will also be added to the state-wide index that will benefit future projects and conservation efforts.

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