On the Hunt  
Lauren has been to about 30 countries looking for arachnids.

Phil Torres


R.1, R.4, L.4

A Creepy-Crawly Career

Lauren Esposito travels the world studying scorpions and spiders. Here’s what she wants you to know about these misunderstood creatures. 

Courtesy of Kathryn Whitney/California Academy of Sciences 

    If you were to see the animals on this page in real life, what would you do? Most people might run screaming. But not Lauren Esposito. She’s a biologist—a scientist who studies living things. And her specialty is arachnids, like spiders and scorpions. 

    Lauren spends about half her time traveling the world looking for these creatures. Then she comes back home to write about what she found. We talked to her about working with some of the most feared animals on Earth.

    Have you always loved arachnids?

    Not exactly. But I would look for bugs and worms in my garden as a kid. So I’ve always been drawn to creepy-crawly creatures.

    Why is it important to study arachnids?

    They’ve been around since before the dinosaurs! They can teach us about how animals survive through time as Earth changes around them. 

    What’s something that people might find surprising about your job?

We are finding new species—or types—of arachnids all the time. I collect about 100 new species every year. Scientists have only discovered about 50 percent of the arachnids in the world! 

    What traits does a good biologist need?

You need to be curious and observant—always noticing what’s around you. And you have to be fascinated by nature!


    A lot of people are afraid of arachnids. Why is that?

Well, the way they move is very alien to us. We’re not used to seeing things walk around on the ceiling with eight legs! Plus, there are some arachnids that are venomous—that means they have a poisonous bite or sting. So people think all arachnids can hurt them. 

    What do you say to those people?

Fewer than 1 percent of all arachnids are dangerous to humans. Most spiders can’t even bite people—their fangs are too small to get through human skin. 

    Have you ever been bitten or stung?

I was once stung by a scorpion. It felt like getting pricked by a thumbtack. I was totally fine! 

Mini Skills Workout

How arachnids move is alien to us. What’s another word Lauren could have used? Write your answers on a separate sheet of paper.

What are three traits a biologist needs?

Find a sentence where Lauren explains what we can learn from arachnids. Write your answers on a separate sheet of paper.

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