Arthropods like you’ve never seen them

A traveling science exhibit coming to the North Carolina Arboretum might capture the imagination—or bristle the hairs on the back of the neck.

Where it’s cool to be creepy: A tarantula with a well-appointed domicile is one one many wonders in an exhibit headed to the North Carolina Arboretum.

Reminiscent of a circus sideshow, the exhibit won’t feature contortionists or sword swallowers. Instead, “Dr. Entomo’s Palace of Exotic Wonders” will showcase more than two dozen bizarre creatures, from glow-in-the-dark scorpions to bird-eating tarantulas. Living and mounted insects, and other arthropods from around the world, will be divided into eight display sections based on their natural history.

“The Dr. Entomo exhibit was chosen specifically with youth education in mind,” notes John Andrew Bubany, curator of the exhibit. “It will allow us to explore the world of insects on our property, insects that migrate trough the region, insect adaptations and oddities, along with many important environmental subjects like global warming, air quality, water quality and ozone damage. In short, we’re excited to show our visitors how the insect world is intimately related to current environmental issues.”

Corresponding with the Dr. Entomo exhibit will be “Winged Transformers,” a butterfly house. Four native species of butterflies—monarchs, black swallowtails, painted ladies and red admirals—will undergo the process of metamorphosis in the exhibit greenhouse. Once they’ve reached the butterfly stage, the Arboretum will provide nectar that visitors can use to feed them.

The work of local metal artist Jeff Gundlach, who specializes in giant steel bug sculptures, will be displayed throughout the grounds of the Arboretum during the exhibit. Special programs will include a talk on butterfly gardening and an insect-movie series, including screenings of Microcosmos and The Fly.

Dr. Entomo’s Palace of Exotic Wonders will begin Saturday, January 19, and continue through Sunday, May 11. Visit www.ncarboretum.org for details.

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