‘Leggy!’ exhibit makes creepy crawlers fun

Ian Larsen/Sun Star Reporter
Jan. 31, 2011

A Darkling Beetle waits near the entrance to his lair in the Leggy! exhibit at the University of Alaska Museum of the North on Jan. 25th, 2012. The exhibit will run through May 5th, 2012. Michelle Strehl / Sun Star

The UAF Museum of the North is kicking off the spring semester with its new exhibit, “Leggy! Live Spiders and Their Relatives.” 

This exhibit will be available until May 5. Although the rest of the museum is free to students, “Leggy!” is a special feature, with a $4 admission price.

This exhibit contains a wide variety of live insects and other arthropods such as earwigs, an assortment of spiders, beetles, scorpions, horseshoe crabs, and nearly extinct cave roaches.

The exhibit also contains a small colony of sterile female ants that recently laid eggs.

It’s a happy surprise,” Curator of Insects Derek Sikes said. “The ants have no queen and are known to be sterile, the ants are not designed to lay eggs.”

The ants were collected by Sikes according to the Museum’s Facebook page, however he was unable to find the queen.

“It’s not that surprising because in this order of insects, the Hymenoptera (bees, wasps, ants), unfertilized eggs always become males and fertilized eggs always become females,” the page said.

“I don’t know how this happened, but it is exciting, and with special care these eggs may be raised to adult male ants,” Sikes said.

“Leggy!” is also a child-friendly exhibit. The exhibit contains informative pictures to teach viewers more about the insects in the gallery and a video about how the insects are caught in Alaska.

Showcasing a variety of exotic insects, the exhibit also has multiple insect costumes available for attendees to experience what it would feel like to be an insect.

A special feature of the exhibit is a darkened gallery with sounds of nocturnal singing insects, in which visitors can search for exotic arthropods using small flashlights provided by the museum.


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