I am an invertebrate zoologist that traditionally works on obscure aquatic invertebrates such as gastrotrichs and rotifers. I got involved with whip scorpions quite by accident. I occasionally team teach a course with Dr. Garb entitled, Arthropod Biology and Evolution, and like to have lots of live specimens for the laboratory portion of the course (e.g, scorpions, pseudoscorpions, tarantulas, crabs, insects). I ordered a few live vinegaroons for the class and was immediately intrigued. I began breeding them and now have several pregnant mothers and lots of subadults (1st-3rd instars). With so many animals available, we began exploring different aspects of their anatomy that are not well known, such as the chemistry of their exoskeleton and the structure of their defensive glands. So far, my graduate students and I have performed analyses of the vinegaroon exoskeleton using energy dispersive x-ray spectroscopy (EDS) to reveal the presence of heavy metals (manuscript in preparation; see related publication below), and we are currently examining the structure of their acid (pygidial) glands using classical histology, confocal microscopy, and scanning and transmission electron microscopy. I also work alongside professor and arachnologist Dr. Jessica Garb who is well versed in arachnid genomics and transcriptomics, and together, we have created a partnership that blends traditional morphological techniques with current advances in molecular biology.
Gallant, J., Ada, E., & Hochberg, R. 2016. Elemental characterization of the cuticle in the marine intertidal pseudoscorpion, Halobisium occidentale Beier, 1931. Invertebrate Biology 135:127-137.
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