Above, the happyface spider, a Hawaiian species.
Photos special to the Star-Bulletin

Web Site

Spiders invade the Bishop Museum
this weekend

By Burl Burlingame

What has eight legs and happy faces, other than the Beatles? We're talking spiders, those bad-rep, Eight-pac Shakurs of the external-skeleton world. Bishop Museum's "Spiders!" exhibition opens this weekend, and you can get up close and personal with the little guys.

Actually, you're probably close right now. Scientists estimate we're never more than three feet from a spider. That's because some are microscopic, and actually live RIGHT ON YOU.

The tarantula.
Photos special to the Star-Bulletin

Stop wiggling. Spiders also suck their toes so their feet won't stick to their web and they taste their food through tubes on their feet. They immobilize their dinner with poison, which paralyzes the victim until it's time for supper. When that happens, the spider shoots enzymes onto the prey, and then slurps up the predigested grub, (and we do mean grub, on occasion).

In short, that zombie housefly carcass is toe-lickin' good!

"Spiders!" comes from the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, and was largely funded by Marvel Comics (creators of Spiderman comics, 'nuff said). In Hawaii, the sponsors are Primeco Hawaii Personal Communications, Roberts Hawai'i and Sea-Land Service. The exhibits include:

Several live spiders will be on display, including Hawaiian species like the happyface spider (Theridion grallator), the jumping spider (Plexippus paykulli) and the cane spider (Jeezus thatsbiggus).

The exhibits will also examine well-known facts about spiders, like that the radiation from run-of-the-mill atomic testing causes them to grow to the size of Blaisdell Arena, that they eat human beings like we eat Pop Tarts, that they come from Mars hidden inside innocent-looking meteorites, that they are the only creatures that enjoy being around a poodle, and that having eight legs is a problem while waltzing but not while slam-dancing.

Oops. Sorry. Those are well-known fallacies. Only one of the above is correct.

Because we at the Star-Bulletin like to remain on good terms with the small creatures that shall inherit the earth, kids under 17 who color in the spider drawing on Features Story 2 today can get in free this Saturday and Sunday. Just bring the colored drawing, which will be put on display. Kids who bring a real spider, dead or alive, can get in free on Saturday.

A spiny bellied orb weaver web.
Photos special to the Star-Bulletin

Coloring will get you in free

What: "Spiders!" Opening day will have special activities for kids 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
When:9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 21 to Jan. 1
Where: Castle Memorial Building, Bishop Museum
Cost: Admission to museum, $14.95; $11.95 age 6 to 17 and seniors; local residents and military admission is $7.95, $6.95 age 6 to 17; free for members and children under 6
Star-Bulletin special: Free on Saturday and Sunday for children 17 and under with colored spider drawing (see Page D-4); free on Saturday only to children 17 and under who bring a live or dead spider
Call: 847-3511
Web Site: http://www.bishop.hawaii.org/bishop/exhibits/spiders

Spider for coloring

Text Site Directory:
[News] [Business] [Features] [Sports] [Editorial] [Community] [Info] [Stylebook] [Feedback]