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July 17, 2012

NC Museum of Natural Sciences Education Blog

Last week we blogged about the slide that provoked the most questions; this week we are blogging about the slide that many react to with an “EWWW!”.

This is, of course, the slides featuring parts of the tarantula.  At first glance, many visitors think that we have quite a few dead tarantulas here in the Natural World iLab.  Most tarantulas live at least a few years, so we would have to wait a long time to get this many specimens.  Instead, each of them are tarantula molts.  Much like snakes, tarantulas shed their outer layer in order to grow.  But unlike snakes, they are shedding their exoskeleton which is why these molts look like they could be dead spiders.

The other part of the tarantula that often warrants a reaction is the cephalothorax.  As you can see in the picture below, this is the part of the spider that…

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