Student - April 7, 2011

Giant spiders and other beauties in Leeuwarden

Spiders have eight legs. That is all most of us retain from our biology lessons on the arachnids. But that they also have eight eyes and gobble up 100 insects a year are among the interesting facts you can pick up at the exhibition on 'Spiders, the loveliest creatures in existence' at the Natuurmuseum Fryslân in Leeuwarden.

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A good quality animation shows how spiders use a fixed pattern to spin their intricate webs. There are several living specimens in tanks, including a tarantula. Known as a bird spider in Dutch, it owes this name to a picture of one eating a humming bird, but in reality birds are rarely on its menu.
The highpoint of this exhibition can be seen from 15 April: a spectacular robot spider weighing in at 560 kilo. This is a precise replica of an 'animatronic' from the London Natural History Museum, made by the Japanese company Kokoro, which is specialized in highly realistic robot creatures. This terrifying example is a larger-than-life copy of the Australian funnel-web spider, the most poisonous spider in the world. It paralyses its prey with its sharp fangs and has cost many Australians their lives. The robot is three metres wide and two metres high, and is on display in the Netherlands for the first time.
The Frisian nature museum has been housed in a historic former orphanage since the nineteen nineties. In 2005, it was reopened after renovations that had taken several years. The refurbished rooms look bright and up-to-date. The museum is very active and often surprises its visitors with fascinating exhibitions, such as the recent one on dinosaurs. 'Jurassic Leeeuwarden 2' attracted 30,000 visitors in just five weeks earlier this year. The main attraction was a 17 metre long diplodocus. For which the high-tech Australian funnel-web spider is a worthy successor.
The robot spider can be viewed from 15 April to 19 June
Part of 'Spiders, the loveliest creatures in existence!' until 28 August
Natuurmuseum Fryslân
Schoenmakersperk 2
Tel. 058- 2332244
www.natuurmuseumfryslan.nl

 

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