Science & Technology

  • Charlotte’s Web author E.B. White consulted with a museum curator while writing the classic children’s book. She named the main character Charlotte A. Cavatica after a common orb weaver, Araneus cavaticus.
    (© AMNH\R. Mickens)
  • Ornamental tarantulas can be as colorful as tropical birds, a sharp contrast to the fearsome, dark and dangerous creatures many imagine. (© AMNH\R. Mickens)
  • This active hunter searches for food on foot, aided by sharp vision and its ability to sense vibrations—like those of the beating wing on an insect or the patter of steps on the soil. (© AMNH\R. Mickens)
  • One of the few species harmful to people in North America, a black widow often features a red hourglass shape on its underside. (© AMNH\R. Mickens)
  • This is a rare 100-million-year-old spider fossil in limestone. Spiders do not preserve well in sediment because they have a relatively soft “shell.”  (© AMNH\D. Grimaldi)
  • One of the biggest spiders in the world, the Goliath bird eater preys on snakes, mice, and frogs but, despite the name, rarely birds. (© AMNH\R. Mickens)
  • This stunning tarantula, which lives mainly on the Pacific coast of Mexico, resides in burrows, hurrying out to prey on insects, small frogs, lizards, and mice. (© AMNH\R. Mickens)
  • Trapdoor spiders spend most of their time in underground burrows, emerging mainly to grab prey. Their rear half is segmented, a trait visible in some of the earliest spider fossils. (© AMNH\R. Mickens)
  • This spider was trapped in tree resin about 20 million years ago. Over time the resin fossilized into amber, preserving the animal inside. (© AMNH\D. Grimaldi)

Exhibit Brings Spiders to Life

Published September 24, 2012

Spiders, which come in 43,000 varieties, have thrived for nearly 300 million years on every continent except Antarctica. A new exhibit at New York's American Museum of Natural History, which boasts the world’s largest spider collection, showcases some of the arachnids.


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