The American Museum of Natural History will extend its highly popular Spiders Alive! exhibition through the holiday season.
“We’re delighted to see such tremendous public interest in and enthusiasm for Spiders Alive! and that we can respond to public demand by extending the show though the holiday season,” said Ellen Futter, President of the American Museum of Natural History. “These creatures, among the most versatile and important on the planet, have inspired and captivated humans for millennia, and our visitors clearly have been enthralled as well.”
Spiders Alive! highlights spiders’ anatomy, diversity, venom, silk, and behavior, including little-known defensive mechanisms such as mimicry and noise-making. In addition to live spiders representing approximately 20 species, the exhibition includes larger-than-life models of arachnids, including a climbable spider model, videos, and fossils. Museum staff members handle live arachnids for visitors to see up close, and the exhibition debunks spider myths, such as: all spiders are poisonous to humans; all spiders neglect their offspring; and spiders need gravity to build webs.
Among the live spiders visitors see in this exhibition are the goliath bird eater, one of the largest spiders in the world, whose prey includes snakes, mice, and frogs; the western black widow, member of one of the few North American spider groups that can be harmful to people; the fishing spider, who senses prey by resting its front legs on the surface of the water; and the golden orb-web spider, which weaves a golden web that can reach more than 3 feet in diameter.
Spiders Alive! opened on July 28, 2012, and will continue through January 6, 2013 (the original closing date was December 2).
The exhibition is curated by Norman Platnick, curator emeritus in the Department of Invertebrate Zoology.