During my recent trip to New York I found some time to visit the American Museum of Natural History. I wanted to see their spider exhibit, you see.

Of course, step one was finding the place. Seventy-eighth and Central Park West, as I recall. Ah, this looks right:

The exhibit itself was a bit smaller than I had expected. I went through it in forty-five minutes, and that was after reading every sign and watching every video. The place was also overrun with screaming, squealing little kids, so that marred things a bit for me as well. But it was still fascinating and I'm glad I went.

There were numerous posters on the wall with photos of exotic spiders. Like this one:

I wonder how this one got its name:

Oh, now I see:

It also passed my basic test for any exhibit in a natural history museum: There is a reference to Charles Darwin:

The real stars were the spiders themselves. Lots of creepy crawlies on display. Since they were in glass cases, a lot of my photos were consigned to the discard pile. But here are a few that came out decently. Alas, I no longer remember the names of these fellows, so if any spider-mavens want to provide some insight in the comments go right ahead/

Wait a second! That last one isn't a spider now, is it?

Apparently when Stan Lee first ptiched the idea for Spider-Man to Marvel Comics, they rejected the idea. “People hate spiders,” they reportedly said. Perhaps so, but this particular exhibit was doing a booming business. So if you happen to be in the area I recommend stopping in for a visit.

More like this

I'm back in Virginia after my brief visit to New York. It was really great to meet so many of my fellow science bloggers. I feel so unworthy right now! Bora has the skinny on the weekend's doings along with copious photographs. After our big brunch on Saturday, I decided to eschew the visit to…
I've known that scorpions have fluorescent cuticles — if you go out into the desert with a black light and shine it on the ground, the scorpions will often glow green and blue and be easy to spot. I had no idea that many spiders exhibit the same phenomenon, but there they are, glowing away. I may…
After leaving the theater it was time to enter the museum proper. The nice fellow at the door scanned the barcode on my ticket to verify that I wasn't trying to sneak in. He advised me that I should allow at least two hours to see all the exhibits, then invited me to go on in. The museum is laid…
Anybody still read newspaper comics these days? I do, but sadly for the newspaper business I read them online. Worse, usually in the context of people making fun of them. On the other hand, there are a few gems out there. Is Spider-Man one of those gems? Uh... Well, Shakespeare it ain't. But…

"Alas, I no longer remember the names of these fellows, so if any spider-mavens want to provide some insight in the comments go right ahead"

I would also like to know, because I swear I the one in the first picture in a movie. The depiction in the movie wasn't flattering...

By Biojournalism (not verified) on 21 Aug 2012 #permalink

Wait a second! That last one isn’t a spider now, is it?

Neither, for that matter, is the first one. It's an amblypygid of some kind. One of them did appear in a movie, being tortured by Mad-Eye Moody in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.

By Christopher Taylor (not verified) on 21 Aug 2012 #permalink

The diversity of spiders, even within small geographic areas, is ridiculous. It seems like nearly every spider I've ever encountered in my home or backyard represented a different species (though it's possible some were males and females of a highly dimorphic species).