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 Interview of some famous arachnologists

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Number of posts : 15
Age : 47
Location : Germany
Registration date : 2011-03-13

Interview of some famous arachnologists Empty
PostSubject: Interview of some famous arachnologists   Interview of some famous arachnologists Empty8/15/2013, 2:44 am

Hi guys,

some years ago I started to interview some arachnologists.
I hope you enjoy Arrow 

Interview Victor Fet 03.05.2010

Please introduce your self briefly!.

Victor Fet, PhD, Professor, Marshall University, West Virginia, USA

Why do you work with scorpions & what fascinates you?

I got "stuck"with them, or "hooked" on them, as a schoolboy since late 1960s. A zoologist must have a specialty group. my group was scorpions now for 40 years. By now, I just know more about them than about any other group. Any animal group is fascinating but scorpions are so separate and ancient that one always find new and deep things about them.

How does one become a scorpiologist?
One needs a PhD in zoology to know thém, a UV light to find them, and a microscope to see them and in the darkness bind them, to reveal their dark secrets.

Do you have a special research field & which is your special research field?
Systematics, zoogeography and evolution, using both morphology and DNA. I like describing dead scorpions,a nd I do not usually keep live scorpions. I do not like to keep animals in captivity (The only live animal I keep is my cat, and he is welcome to go free outside and hunt-- we live in the country).

Are you occupied also with other animals?
No, not now (other than cat). My dissertation was on spiders, so I know spiders well but I do not work on them for many years now.

Why is your work important?
Because we keep discovery spirit alive. Thsi refers not only to discovery of new and rare species. We always win in our research - either we find something unique for them, or if something is shared with other animals, we know it is very ancient. My students, for example, often find whole new organs  - for example, we found a new sensory system on the tip of fixed finger of scorpion claw (pedipalp) - nobody looked!

What do you work on at present?
Several groups of scorpions under close systematic investigation - more Iuridae, some Vaejovidae, some Buthidae, and always Euscorpiidae. Description of new species. Investigation fo new characters. Cooperation with colleagues from various places -  Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Canada, Cuba, Iran on surveys of local faunas. Requesting museum loans. Adding alcohol to old collections.

How does your routine of the day look?
I am a univeristy professor with a full teaching load. I teach Evolution, Genetics, Biogeography, General Biology. I grade student tests and papers. I wrote a lot of recommendations, grant proposals, letters and reports. I write and publish a lot of poetry and literary criticism in my native Russian language. I translate a lot of scientific literature. In small gaps of time between these activities I am scoring scorpion trichobothria under a light microscope and making micrographs on Scanning Electron Microscope, wrote research papers on scorpions, and sometimes manage to go blacklighting in my favorite places such as Balkan Peninsula, Uzbekistan or Mexico.

Thank you very much!
You are welcome!


Interview Rolando Teruel 05.05.2010

Please intoduce your self shortly!
I am 36 years old, and my hometown is Santiago de Cuba, in southeastern Cuba. I got my BSc from Universidad de Oriente (in my
hometown) in 1997, and also my MSc in 2007. Currenty, I'm getting my PhD.

Why do you work with scorpions & what fascinates you?
Because since I was a child I always thought scorpions are great animals. I started to keep and breed them since I was a child, but soon I became involved in studying them more seriously as a taxonomist.

How does one become a scorpiologist?
There are two ways: 1) as a profesional; 2) as an amateur. The first choice requires taking a BSc and astudying at a university all the teoric fundaments, and the second is more direct but requires many years to get this same knowledge by yourself. In both cases, it is necessary that at the very beginning you contact as many scorpion specialists as you can, looking for literature, voucher specimens and if you are lucky, the most important thing: someone who mentors you until you are ready to do it on your own.

Do you have a special research field & which is your special research field?

Taxonomy and systematics of scorpions, but I also work on biogeography, phylogeny and ecology to a lesser ectent.

Are you occupied also with other animals?
Yes, mostly other arachnid orders: Schizomida, Solifugae, Ricinulei, Amblypygi, and Thelyphonida.

Why is your work important/for what is your work importantly?
Because of a simple reason: taxonoy is the inevitable basis where every other branches of Biology (i.e., Ecology, Biogeography, Toxicology...) must rely on to work accurately. It is easy to understand: no work on these topic is reliable (= correct) unless it starts with the correct identification of the specie(s) which is (are) studied.

What do you work at present?
I'm currently revising the scorpion fauna of Cuba and Hispaniola, but also I'm describing a lot of new species and redescribing others poorly known from different places.

How does your routine of the day look?
As a normal one: wake up early, spend the whole day alternating between microscope and computer, and finish the day at home with my beloved family. Also, I use to do about 10 collecting trips every year.

What do you have for goals in the future?
In the nearest future (end 2010 to beginning 2011) it is to get my PhD.

With best regards,

Centro Oriental de Ecosistemas y Biodiversidad (BIOECO)
Museo de Historia Natural "Tomás Romay"
José A. Saco # 601, esquina a Barnada
Santiago de Cuba 90100. CUBA


Interview Wilson Lourenco 18.05.2010

Please intoduce your self shortly!

I am an evolutionary biologist. I started to get interested in Zoology about 40 years ago (1970). I am now 62. I have a PhD and a Doctor's Science Degree both in evolutionary biology & ecological biogeography. I started to publish in 1973 and had since published more than 500 papers mostly dealing with scorpion phylogeny & systematics, biogeography and reproductive biology.

Why do you work with scorpions & what fascinates you?
I got interested in several zoological groups, but scorpions proved to be a very good model and tool, mainly in evolutionary biology & biogeography.

How does one become a scorpiologist?
One does not become a scorpiologist. Rather, by usinf this group as a tool, i had the opportunity to see and study both in the field and in laboratory an enormous amount of different groups and species. I described myself some family extant and fossil, about 40 genera and near to 300 species. Consequently, you start to know the group quite well.

Do you have a special research field & which is your special research field?

Phylogeny, taxonomy, biogeography & reproductive biology.

Are you occupied also with other animals?
I did some research on birds, reptiles, mammals, spiders, insects, etc. But more and more one has to remain a kin expert. Consequently, it is difficult to be a generalist.

Why is your work important/for what is your work importantly?
I don't know if my work is important. We work, however, to improve our knowledge on biodiversity. Man is destroying most environments, so we have to study these fast. This is particularly true for tropical rain forests, such as Amazon, Madagascar, and Asia.

What do you work at present?
We have main projects in Madagascar, Amazon, and SouthEast Asia, this lats region being poorly study.

How does your routine of the day look?
We try to work on several projects at the same time. It is the only way to work well and fast. I use part of my day, mainly in the morning to reply all my e-mail messages, in particular those from my foreign students. I receive also questions from many people. I try to reply to all. During at least 2 days per week, I try to isolate myself to check new material and to write my papers. One day per week, I work with my local collaborator in Paris.

What do you have for goals in the future?
I believe that for the left years I have in face of my, I still have enough work with the same major regions already cited. One will se, for how long I will yet be available to do some useful work.


Prof. Dr. Wilson Lourenço


Interview Lorenzo Prendini AMNH 05.05.2010

Introduce myself:
I was born and raised in Johannesburg, South Africa, with joint South African and Italian nationality. I studied at universities in Johannesburg and Cape Town, graduating with my PhD in 2001. I moved to New York to take my current position as Curator of Arachnids and Myriapods at the American Museum of Natural History in 2002; I was awarded tenure in 2007.

Why do I work on scorpions and what fascinates me:

Growing up in Africa, I was fascinated by many wild creatures, including arachnids, insects and reptiles. Scorpions always held a special fascination for me but it was not until I had on opportunity to work on them scientifically in 1995, and realised how little was known about them, that my interest deepened. I continue to be fascinated by scorpions for many reasons: they are ancient but have hardly changed morphologically; they are venomous; they have a fascinating life history, behavior and physiology; so little is known about them but new species continue to be discovered.

How to become a scorpiologist:
You need to get a position in an academic institution (a university, museum or other kind of research institute) that allows you to do research on scorpions. Positions to work strictly on scorpions don't exist: you have to market yourself and your research in an interesting and compelling way to compete with scientists working on other kinds of arthropods. Before you can even think of applying for such positions, you must have an earned PhD in the field and a record of publishing scientific papers on scorpions in peer reviewed journals. To get a PhD, you must first have graduated with a BSc degree in the field of zoology. So, its a long road of study and hard work before you are even ready to enter the market and you need a lot of perseverance and then some luck to get a position.

Special research field:
My particular specialty is on the systematics, evolution and biogeography of scorpions. Specifically, I am interested in the diversity of different species of scorpions (taxonomy) and the phylogenetic relationships (phylogeny) among them, which allow us to classify species into more inclusive groups (genera, families, etc.) and also to understand how they evolved in time and space (evolutionary biology and biogeography). I use diverse sources of data, including external morphology, internal anatomy, DNA and geography, as well as diverse analytical methods (like cladistics and GIS) to understand what the species are, how they are related to one another, where they are and how they got there.

Other animals:
I am currently also working on three smaller arachnid orders: Amblypygi, Solifugae and Thelyphonida. I have published a few papers on Amblypygi and Thelyphonida, and I have an NSF grant to work on solifuges. I have also done some work in the past on leafhoppers (Cicadellidae).

Why is my work important:
Fundamentally, my work contributes to the body of knowledge about life on Earth: what are the organisms that share this planet with us and how did they evolve. As with so many organisms, scorpions (which have been around for 430 million years) are disappearing rapidly as a result of human action: habitat destruction, harvesting for the pet trade, etc. With so many scorpion species as yet unknown to science, the most important aspect of my work is to go out into nature and survey their diversity, collect representative samples for posterity (deposited in public research institutions), and describe the animals in scientific journals while there is still a chance to do so. I help to make these organisms and our research on them more accessible to the public through websites like, and

My work at present:
I am currently focusing my research in three areas: taxonomic revisions of scorpions in southern Africa and North America; higher phylogeny and classification of scorpions.

My daily routine:
I spend about 3 hours a day commuting in and out of New York City from my home in New Jersey. My day at the office is unpredictable but usually includes institutional meetings in addition to time spent on research, administration of grant-funded and other ongoing projects, teaching courses (during part of the year), supervising technicians, mentoring students and postdoctoral fellows (my lab usually has between 5-10 people working at any time). I look forward to playing with my children (2 and 4 years old) when I get home.

My longterm goals:
I would like to see the higher phylogeny of scorpions fully resolved and the classification revised based on rigorous scientific analysis. I would also like to see the diverse scorpion fauna of subSaharan Africa completely surveyed and revised. I am working actively in these areas.

Well, that about covers it. I hope this is helpful. Please send me the link to where this is posted.

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Number of posts : 623
Age : 51
Location : Sandpoint, Idaho, U.S.A.
Registration date : 2008-12-29

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PostSubject: Re: Interview of some famous arachnologists   Interview of some famous arachnologists Empty8/15/2013, 3:21 am

Really enjoyed this. Thank you for posting.
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Callum B
Callum B

Number of posts : 1096
Age : 31
Registration date : 2008-09-21

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PostSubject: Re: Interview of some famous arachnologists   Interview of some famous arachnologists Empty3/18/2014, 10:33 am

How have I only just found this? Really enjoyed reading this. Thanks Carlos  Smile 
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Tongue Flicker
Tongue Flicker

Number of posts : 1106
Age : 33
Location : Madina't Isa, Bahrain
Registration date : 2012-11-01

Interview of some famous arachnologists Empty
PostSubject: Re: Interview of some famous arachnologists   Interview of some famous arachnologists Empty3/19/2014, 1:00 am

Me neither. Nice interview, great read Smile
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