Department of Arachnology
Research in this department focuses on spiders, centipedes, velvet worms, and more. Its extensive collection contains roughly 1 million specimens and nearly 9,000 species, including more than 5,600 species of mites and spiders. Above all, its large number of recorded water bears, scorpions, spiders, and special mite groups, together with the historical significance of a few of the sub-collections established by renowned arachnologists and collectors have garnered international recognition. Over the past few years the Department has focused in particular on tardigrades, popularly known as water bears. These are tiny, distant cousins of insects. Researching these groups can lead to greater understanding of the still-controversial relationships of other groups (e.g., crabs, insects, and spiders).