Find more projects

Colorado Spider Survey

Main Project Information
Presented By Denver Museum of Natural Sciences
Goal Learn about the ecology and population of spiders in CO.
Task Identify and mail spiders to Denver Museum of Natural Sciences.
Where Global, anywhere on the planet

The Colorado Spider Survey (CSS) is a means of gathering critical information about the ecology and distribution of this understudied taxonomic group. Researchers have documented the distribution and species diversity of several groups of insects in the Rocky Mountain region such as ants, grasshoppers, and butterflies. However, information about the distribution and diversity of other arthropod groups in this region is lacking. One group that is particularly understudied is the Order Araneae, or the spiders. Little is known about either the biodiversity of spiders in Colorado or the impact urbanization is having on species distribution in the state. No formal spider surveys have ever been conducted in Colorado.

The survey will be carried out through a series of Spider Identification and Collection Workshops that will be held throughout the state, but particularly in cooperation with the State Park system. These workshops, led by a team of professional and amateur arachnologists (or spider biologists), will train members of local communities in spider biology, morphology, taxonomy, and collection techniques. The specimens will be collected during the next several years by team leaders as well as workshop participants and will be sent to the Denver Museum of Nature & Science for identification and storage. Data from these specimens and from Colorado specimens housed at other collections throughout the country will be compiled and published in an electronic database.

How to Join

More information about the project can be found at or by e-mailing the project manager, Paula E. Cushing, Ph.D. at

Social Media
Required Gear

The essential gear includes collecting vials, alcohol, pencil, and unlined white paper for collecting labels (for collecting information visit the webpage

Helpful (but not essential) gear includes: a handheld GPS device, a sweep net, and a beat sheet. Collectors should wear appropriate clothing for outdoor activities when collecting (e.g., sturdy shoes, long pants, hat, etc). Always carry water!

Ideal Age Group Elementary school (6 - 10 years), Middle school (11 - 13 years), High school (14 - 17 years), College, Graduate students, Adults, Families
Spend the Time outdoors
Type of Activity On a hike, At home, At the beach, On a walk, run, At school, At a science center, zoo or aquarium
Tags colorado, insect, spider, spiders
Project Updated 05/23/2018