BUFFALO — If you’re afraid of creatures with six, eight or even hundreds of legs, you might want to stay away from the Buffalo Museum of Science’s latest permanent science studio, Bug Works.
The studio, which launched Oct. 14, is all about the invertebrate world, from live tarantulas and pinned specimens of beautiful, iridescent butterflies to buzzing bee habitats.
“It’s dedicated to a conversation about the invertebrates in our world ... organisms that don’t have a spine,” said museum CEO Mark Mortenson.
Bug Works is the museum’s fourth in a series of eight planned revamped science studios. The facility has opened one studio every six months since spring 2012 and the project should be completed in the fall of 2015.
Mortenson said the newest addition to the studio overhaul is a credit to the museum’s extensive invertebrate collection, which was previously housed on the fourth floor.
“It’s one of our large collection areas,” he said, explaining why the museum chose to highlight bugs. Also, “bugs are a very popular topic, though with some people, they’re not popular at all,” he added, with a laugh.
Upon entering the Bug Works studio, guests are greeted with what Mortenson describes as the most “artful” element of the exhibit, a “Bug Works” sign made up of about 1,500 of preserved butterflies of all colors and other assorted bugs. The museum staff painstakingly took each individually bagged bug, allowed its body to relax into its natural shape and pinned it into the shape of the letters to make up the sign.
And while there are thousands of dead bug specimens on view in the studio, a few live ones are on display for those who really like the creepy crawlies. From feigning beetles and millipedes to hissing cockroaches and tarantulas, visitors can see how a variety of bugs move and even blend in with their natural environment. From time to time, museum staff will even walk the floor of the studio, bug in hand, so that visitors can get an up-close view.