Desert zombies, mata vendados, spawns of satan, and madre de alacranes are all colloquial names for camel spiders. Camel spiders, in the arachnid order Solifugae, are an interesting and perplexing group of arachnids distributed on all continents except Antarctica and Australia. Erika Garcia is a doctoral student working with Dr. Paula Cushing on camel spiders within the family Eremobatidae that are found in arid habitats throughout North America. Using biogeography, ecology, morphology, and genomic data, Erika wants to know how these spawns have evolved through time across landscapes in North America. Museum collections are an excellent and incredibly valuable resource packed with historical data that can help answer research questions about camel spider evolution and beyond.
When not being a recluse in the Arachnology Lab or in the Health Lab, Erika enjoys outdoor adventures, live music, cooking, and playing soccer.