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Creators/Authors contains: "Cushing, Paula E."

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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available November 1, 2022
  2. Abstract Species of camel spiders in the family Eremobatidae are an important component of arthropod communities in arid ecosystems throughout North America. Recently, research demonstrated that the evolutionary history and biogeography of the family are poorly understood. Herein we explore the biogeographic history of this group of arachnids using genome-wide single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) data, morphology, and distribution modelling to study the eremobatid genus Eremocosta , which contains exceptionally large species distributed throughout North American deserts. Relationships among sampled species were resolved with strong support and they appear to have diversified within distinct desert regions along an east-to-west progression beginningmore »in the Chihuahuan Desert. The unexpected phylogenetic position of some samples suggests that the genus may contain additional, morphologically cryptic species. Geometric morphometric analyses reveal a largely conserved cheliceral morphology among Eremocosta spp. Phylogeographic analyses indicate that the distribution of E. titania was substantially reduced during the last glacial maximum and the species only recently colonized much of the Mojave Desert. Results from this study underscore the power of genome-wide data for unlocking the genetic potential of museum specimens, which is especially promising for organisms like camel spiders that are notoriously difficult to collect.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available December 1, 2022
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  4. Little is known about the reproductive behaviour of solifuges, or camel spiders (Arachnida: Solifugae). Behavioural research is limited, due in part to challenges of maintaining specimens in the laboratory where they can be best observed. The present study documents the courtship and mating behaviours of a North American solifuge, Eremobates pallipes (Say, 1823) through staged mating encounters in an arena within a laboratory setting. Trials were filmed and analysed to establish sequence and timing of behaviours. We were able to document consistent and predictable aspects of the mating behaviours in this species. The consistent use by males of the suctorialmore »organs during mating was documented for the first time in Eremobatidae.« less
  5. Research progress on the order Solifugae, commonly known as camel spiders, has been hindered by challenges inherent in collecting these fast-moving, nocturnal predators. Recently, pitfall trapping combined with artificial light lures showed promise for improving capture rates, but the hypothesis that camel spiders are attracted to light traps (positive phototaxis) has never been tested. We constructed short pitfall trap arrays with and without lights across the Mojave Desert to test the light attraction hypothesis. Nearly all camel spiders we collected were found in traps with suspended lights, lending strong support for positive phototaxis. Distance from the lights within trap arraysmore »does not appear to be correlated with the success of individual pitfall traps. Excitingly, our short pitfall light arrays, or Caterpillar light traps, were relatively easy to install and yielded an order of magnitude more camel spiders per effort hour than previously reported techniques.« less
  6. The Solfugae fauna of Canada includes three known species: Eremobatesdocolora Brookhart and Muma, E.scaber (Kraepelin), and Hemerotrechadenticulata Muma. It is expected that as many as four additional species may be found in Canada. Only one Barcode Index Number is currently known from Canadian specimens.