Information about the Author
Hi, I’m Emily Sun. I’m majoring in Biology with an emphasis in Zoology; my interest in the this discipline revolves mostly around research and discovery. I regard knowledge and scientific discovery among the most valuable aspects of life (regardless of whether the research can be "directly applied" to humans). I enjoy learning about science, playing with my pet rats, and catching and identifying arthropods. These interests and hobbies existed since childhood, as I’ve always been fascinated by nature.
A picture of Kimmy (my first rat) from last year! (photo from E. Sun)
Some type of hemipteran (a true bug)
from BSU campus. (photo from E. Sun)
A spider I found in my house, probably
a female Cheiracanthium mildei (yellow
sac spider). (photo from E. Sun)
During my junior year of high school (I attended the Louisana School for Math, Science, and the Arts; yes I am originally from Louisiana), my interest in biological sciences was sealed after I took the first Animal Behavior course offered there (since that time, it has been offered annually). Since I and some other students loved the class so much, the teacher put together an independent study on Entomology. We learned about various aspects of insects, monarch butterfly migration, and helped start the high school's first insect specimen collection. We began taking samples (catching insects!) from all around Louisiana and learned to mount and identify the samples, as well as organize the collection by organism order.
More specifically, my interest in spiders developed while I was in high school (the teacher mentioned above is a spider behavioral ecologist). I’m still a complete amateur when it comes to spiders, but I hope to learn much more during my time in university.
Hobo spiders are my current research topic because, in all honesty, I really didn’t know much about them and I wanted to know more. I wanted to know why they are considered dangerous and if those fears are rationally founded.
I began my initial research with the assumption that hobo spiders were dangerous (at least to infants) and the belief that people probably had irrational fears of spiders (because they either rarely bit or the bites were rarely fatal). I was, however, profoundly surprised by what I found.
Nearly everywhere I looked prior to this research project (pest control websites, medical pages, etc.), I read that hobo spiders are medically significant spiders and can cause necrotic lesions if they bite you. I saw this repeated nearly everywhere that had information on the spider. I thought that since this information was everywhere, it was supported by solid evidence. Thus, I was completely surprised when the scientific literature demonstrated that there is a controversy surrounding hobo spiders between the medical community and some arachnologists, toxicologists, and scientists.
I hope you read with open-minded curiosity on what I have learned about hobo spiders.
- Emily Sun