Paula E Cushing

Paula E Cushing
Denver Museum of Nature and Science · Department of Zoology

PhD

About

62
Publications
24,115
Reads
How we measure 'reads'
A 'read' is counted each time someone views a publication summary (such as the title, abstract, and list of authors), clicks on a figure, or views or downloads the full-text. Learn more
1,188
Citations
Introduction
I am an evolutionary biologist who studies evolutionary patterns and processes in arachnids (spiders and their kin). My research focuses on the diversity of spiders in the Rocky Mountain/Great Plains ecoregion (the Colorado Spider Survey). I am also involved with projects exploring the taxonomy, systematics, biogeography, and natural history of spiders, scorpions, and solifuges. My lab page is at http://www.dmns.org/science/museum-scientists/paula-cushing/
Additional affiliations
February 1998 - present
Denver Museum of Nature and Science
Position
  • Curator of Invertebrate Zoology

Publications

Publications (62)
Article
Full-text available
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-w...
Article
Camel spiders, members of the order Solifugae, are a diverse but poorly understood order of arachnids. The conserved morphology within many groups in the order makes species delimitation and identification challenging. In the North American family Eremobatidae, swollen setae called ctenidia are a common character employed in species delimitation, d...
Article
The Southern Appalachians and adjacent provinces of the southeastern USA are geologically and biologically diverse, with high levels of endemism. Phylogeographic analyses indicate that animals with small distributions in these regions often contain cryptic diversity and that Pleistocene climate fluctuations had significant impacts on their distribu...
Article
Full-text available
Phylogenetic relationships and evolutionary patterns within the arachnid order Solifugae are poorly understood and largely unresolved due to conserved morphology and scarce genomic resources. In this study, we evaluated the role of restriction endonuclease (RE) selection in double-digest restriction-site-associated DNA sequencing (ddRADseq) as a me...
Article
Full-text available
Gravity is very important for many organisms, including web-building spiders. Probably the best approach to study the relevance of gravity on organisms is to bring them to the International Space Station. Here, we describe the results of such an experiment where two juvenile Trichonephila clavipes (L.) (Araneae, Nephilidae) spiders were observed ov...
Article
Full-text available
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 pallip...
Article
Entry for recent Encyclopedia of Social Insects about myrmecomorphs.
Article
Full-text available
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 (posi...
Article
Full-text available
The new genus and species Myrmecicultor chihuahuensis Ramírez, Grismado, and Ubick is described and proposed as the type of the new family, Myrmecicultoridae Ramírez, Grismado, and Ubick. The species is ecribellate, with entelegyne genitalia, two tarsal claws, without claw tufts, and the males have a retrolateral palpal tibial apophysis. Some morph...
Article
Full-text available
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.
Article
Full-text available
Camel spiders (Arachnida: Solifugae) are a notoriously difficult group of arachnids to study. They are almost all strictly nocturnal, fast moving predators that are difficult to find, collect, and rear. In this paper, we present methods for both attracting solifuges in desert field sites and collecting them efficiently using a combination of light...
Article
Full-text available
A recent phylogenetic analysis demonstrated that the solifuge genus Eremocosta (Eremobatidae), although not monophyletic, formed a strongly supported group, rendered paraphyletic by the exclusion of E. acuitlapanensis, which we herein determine is misplaced in this genus. We revise the taxonomy of the genus Eremocosta. Nine species of the 13 curren...
Article
Full-text available
Recent syntheses of phylogeographical data from terrestrial animals in the Mojave and Sonoran deserts have revealed a complex history of geologic and climatic vicariance events. We studied the phylogeography of Smeringurus vachoni to see how vicariance events may have impacted a large, endemic rock scorpion. Additionally, we used the phylogeographi...
Article
Full-text available
Nine new species of the Eremobates scaber species group of the solifuge genus Eremobates Banks 1900 are described, eight of them from Mexico. These new species are: E. axacoa, E. bonito, E. cyranoi, E. fisheri, E. hidalgoana, E. jalis-coana, E. minamoritaana, E. zacatecana, and E. zapal and together increase the size of this species group to 23. A...
Book
The Denver Museum of Nature & Science Reports (ISSN 2374-7730 [print], ISSN 2374-7749 [online]) is an open-access, non peer-reviewed scientific journal publishing papers about DMNS research, collections, or other Museum related topics, generally authored or co-authored by Museum staff or associates. Peer review will only be arranged on request of t...
Article
Full-text available
The Nearctic agelenid spider genus Agelenopsis Giebel 1896 is revised, with redescriptions of the 13 known species including: A. actuosa (Gertsch & Ivie 1936), A. aleenae Chamberlin & Ivie 1935, A. aperta (Gertsch 1934), A. emertoni Chamberlin & Ivie 1935, A. kastoni Chamberlin & Ivie 1941, A. longistyla (Banks 1901), A. naevia (Walckenaer 1841), A...
Article
Full-text available
Some male camel spiders (Arachnida: Solifugae) in the families Eremobatidae, Karschiidae, and Solpugidae have clusters of specialized conical or acuminate setae called papillae, on the ventral surface of the metatarsus of the pedipalps. We compared the overall structure of the papillae found on representatives of the three families using scanning e...
Chapter
Full-text available
The Denver Museum of Nature & Science Annals (ISSN 1948-9293 [print], ISSN 1948-9307 [online]) is an open-access, peer-reviewed scientific journal publishing original papers in the fields of anthropology, geology, paleontology, botany, zoology, space and planetary sciences, and health sciences. Papers are either authored by Museum staff, associates...
Article
Full-text available
We describe the mimetic relationship between the ant-like spider Myrmecotypus iguazu Rubio & Arbino 2009 (Araneae: Corinnidae) and the carpenter ant Camponotus sericeiventris Guérin (Hymenoptera: Formicidae), studied in a subtropical rainforest in Iguazú National Park, Argentina. The morphological adaptations, aspects of coloration, and behavior re...
Article
Full-text available
Spiders are critical predators in agroecosystems. Crop management practices can influence predator density and diversity, which, in turn, can influence pest management strategies. Crop intensification is a sustainable agricultural technique that can enhance crop production although optimizing soil moisture. To date, there is no information on how c...
Article
Full-text available
This paper provides a summary of the extensive theoretical and empirical work that has been carried out in recent years testing the adaptational significance of various spider-ant associations. Hundreds of species of spiders have evolved close relationships with ants and can be classified as myrmecomorphs, myrmecophiles, or myrmecophages. Myrmecomo...
Article
Full-text available
Solifuges, or camel spiders (order Solifugae), keep their pedipalps extended when moving through the environment, utilizing them much the way insects use their antennae. The male also uses his pedipalps during copulation, staying in contact with the female throughout the process. The pedipalps are covered with setae that are assumed to function as...
Article
Full-text available
Accurate characterization of predator-prey linkages in agroecosystems is important prior to the implementation of conservation biological programs. The Russian wheat aphid, Diuraphis noxia (Hemiptera: Aphididae), is a significant pest of wheat and barley in the United States. This research utilized molecular gut-content analysis as a minimally disr...
Article
Full-text available
Accurate characterization of predator-prey linkages in agroecosystems is important prior to the implementation of conservation biological programs. The Russian wheat aphid, Diuraphis noxia (Hemiptera, Aphididae), is a significant pest of wheat and barley in the United States. This research utilized molecular gut-content analysis as a minimally disr...
Article
Full-text available
Juvenile solifuges have rarely been observed hunting in natural conditions. We recorded the hunting behavior of juvenile third or fourth instar solifuges of the genus Chanbria (Eremobatidae) near lanterns set up in the Imperial Sand Dunes, Imperial County, California. At least 10 juveniles were observed between 22:50 and 01:40 h on 18—19 June 2010....
Article
Full-text available
When disturbed, Uloborus glomosus either remain in position at the hub of their orb webs, jump from the web, move to the edge of the web, or shake the web. Juveniles more frequently exhibited moving and jumping responses, whereas the majority of adults jumped from the web or remained in position. Adults with linear stabilimenta tended to shake thei...
Article
Full-text available
Two species of Chinchippus (Ammotrechidae) were studied in central Peru. Both species are endemic to the hyper-arid coastal desert and appear to derive most of their energy and nutrients from maritime prey, such as intertidal amphipods feeding on beach-cast algae or as arthropod scavengers feeding upon seabird and pinniped carcasses. Data on the sp...
Article
Full-text available
The ant hunting behavior of Zodarion rubidum (Araneae, Zodariidae) is described from specimens collected in Colorado, USA. Like other members of this genus, Z. rubidum constructs igloo-shaped stone retreats under rocks and feeds on ants. Details of the prey capture behavior are provided including initial and subsequent reactions of ants to the bite...
Article
Full-text available
The Hemerotrecha banksi group is revised and the status of the genus Hemerotrecha is examined. The female of H. truncata Muma 1951 is described for the first time, and five new species are named: H. hanfordana, H. kaboomi, H. prenticei. H. pseudotruncata, and H. vetteri.
Article
Solifugae possess an evertable, adhesive pedipalpal organ (suctorial organ) at the tip of the distal tarsus of each pedipalp that is unique among arachnids. When inverted inside the pedipalp, the suctorial organ is covered with two cuticular lips, a dorsal upper lip and a ventral lower lip, but it can be protruded rapidly in order to facilitate gra...
Article
Using available shape characters we conducted an outline morphometric analysis to make family-level identifications of fossil spiders from the Florissant Formation in Colorado. In this analysis we used carapace shape because it is a character that can be observed on most fossil spiders, and we also used linear leg characters. All measurements were...
Article
Full-text available
The female of Camptocosa texana Dondale, Jimenez & Nieto 2005 is described from Arizona. Females of C. texana are compared to those of C. parallela (Banks 1898), which differ from C. texana females in the color morphology of the carapace and the shape of the median septum.
Article
We documented effects of spring bums on grasshopper assemblages of the shortgrass prairie at the Comanche National Grassland, Baca County, Colorado, in 1999 and 2000. We measured grasshopper density and diversity at each of four transects on both burned and unburned sites at three locations. We did not find consistent responses of these assemblages...
Article
The ability of members of the arachnid order Solifugae to climb smooth, vertical surfaces and the organs involved in this behavior are investigated. Macroscopic, microscopic, and scanning electron microscopic observations are made of a palpal organ called the suctorial organ. Observations of the behavior but not the microstructure have been made in...
Article
Full-text available
Article
We attempt to demonstrate that physicians overdiagnose loxoscelism (colloquially known as 'brown recluse spider bites') by comparing the numbers of such diagnoses to the historically known numbers of Loxosceles spiders from the same areas in four western American states. The medical community from non-endemic Loxosceles areas often makes loxoscelis...
Article
Full-text available
The hobo spider, Tegenaria agrestis (Walckenaer), and the related Tegenaria duellica Simon are very similar European spiders that have become well established in the northwestern United States and British Columbia. The hobo spider is considered to be medically important; T. duellica is considered harmless but is often misidentified as the hobo spid...
Article
Full-text available
The ant hunting behavior of Zodarion rubidum (Araneae, Zodariidae) is described from specimens collected in Colorado, USA. Like other members of this genus, Z. rubidum constructs igloo-shaped stone retreats under rocks and feeds on ants. Details of the prey capture behavior are provided including initial and subsequent reactions of ants to the bite...
Article
Full-text available
Five new species of Solifugae are described from North America: Eremobates chihuaen-sis, Eremobates gerbae, Hemerotrecha sevilleta, Hemerotrecha cornuta, Eremochelis oregonensis as well as the females of Eremocosta gigasella (Muma, 1970), and Eremobates polhemusi Muma & Brookhart, 1988.
Article
Full-text available
Myrmecophiles are arthropods that spend all or part of their life cycles living inside ant nests. However, little is known about how the distribution of host colonies in a habitat affects the dispersal and population structure of these symbionts. The polymerase chain reaction-based random amplified polymorphic DNA technique (RAPD-PCR) was used to i...
Article
Full-text available
A firefly, Pleotomodes needhami Green, lives in the nests of two, possibly three, species of ants. These ants are the fungus-growing Trachymrmex septentrionalis (McCook), the carnivorous Odontomachus clarus (Roger), and perhaps a Dorymyrmex sp. All known specimens of P. needhami have been collected on the grounds of the Archbold Biological Station,...
Article
Full-text available
Myrmecomorphs are arthropods that have evolved a morphological resemblance to ants. Myrmecophiles are arthropods that live in or near ant nests and are considered true symbionts. The literature and natural history information about spider myrmecomorphs and myrmecophiles are reviewed. Myrmecomorphy in spiders is generally considered a type of Batesi...
Article
Full-text available
In the family Uloboridae, web reduction is associated with changes in web monitoring posture and prosomal features. A spider must extend its first pair of legs directly forward to monitor the signal line of a reduced web. This posture is facilitated by shifts in prosomal musculature that cause reduced web uloborids to have a narrower anterior proso...
Article
Full-text available
1990 . The effect of time and temperature on disturbance behaviors shown by the orb-weaving spider Uloborus glomosus (Uloboridae) . J. Arachnol ., 18 :87-93 . ABSTRACT When disturbed, Uloborus glomosus either remain in position at the hub of their orb-webs, jump from the web, move to the edge of the web, or shake the web . The time of day influence...
Article
Full-text available
Typescript. Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Florida, 1995. Vita. Includes bibliographical references (leaves 120-129).

Network

Cited By

Projects

Projects (3)
Project
Nine new species of the Eremobates scaber species group of the solifuge genus Eremobates Banks 1900 are described, eight of them from Mexico. These new species are: E. axacoa, E. bonito, E. cyranoi, E. fisheri, E. hidalgoana, E. jaliscoana, E. minamoritaana, E. zacatecana, and E. zapal and together increase the size of this species group to 23. We also provide a key to all species in the E. scaber species group.
Archived project
I am currently working with Drs. Matthew Graham (Eastern Connecticut State University) and Paula Cushing (Denver Museum of Nature and Science) to assess the phylogeographic history of Vachon's desert scorpion (Smeringurus vachoni). Following recent work on the biogeographic history of the Mojave and Sonoran deserts (e.g. Bell et al. 2010; Graham et al. 2013; Wood et al. 2012), we are using mitochondrial and nuclear markers from specimens collected throughout the distribution of S. vachoni to add another layer to historical models of biotic assembly in these regions.