[UAFNews-L] News Release: Museum’s ‘Leggy!’ exhibit features live arthropods

University of Alaska Fairbanks UAFdistribution at uaf.edu
Fri Jan 6 14:22:05 AKST 2012

CONTACT: Theresa Bakker, museum information officer, 907-474-6941, tabakker at alaska.edu

Fairbanks, Alaska—The University of Alaska Museum of the North’s new special exhibit “Leggy! Live Spiders and Their Relatives” features diverse members of the phylum Arthropoda, creatures known for their many legs and their many relatives.

These creatures are the most numerous and adaptable on the planet, says entomology curator Derek Sikes. “Five hundred million years ago, the first animals with exoskeletons and hard parts appeared during the Cambrian Explosion, probably as a result of predation. In the oceans, there are maybe 50,000 species of arthropods, about as many as there are vertebrate species today; but on land, insects have almost hit the million mark.”

The exhibit will feature live spiders, tarantulas, centipedes, scorpions and more. There will also be a darkened gallery where visitors can enter the secret world of nocturnal insects, creatures that are most active in the dark.

Videos will show arthropod behaviors, such as spiders spinning webs and beetles searching for food. A close-up lair camera will let visitors see arthropods that like to stay hidden and learn more about Earth’s true majority.

“It’s been said that if humans disappeared, nature would be unaffected,” Sikes says. “But if insects vanished, we would see the widespread collapse of most ecosystems, incredible ecological simplification and a great deal of lost biodiversity.”

“Leggy!” opens Jan. 14, 2012 in the special exhibits gallery at the museum, on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus.

ADDITIONAL CONTACTS: Derek Sikes, UAMN curator of entomology, at 907-474-6278 or via email at dssikes at alaska.edu.

ON THE WEB: museum.uaf.edu

NOTE TO EDITORS: Images are available for download from the UAF newsroom: www.uafnews.com.

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