UPPER WEST SIDE — Arachnophobes, beware: The latest exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History brings visitors up close and personal with 20 different species of spiders.
"Spiders Alive!" is returning to the museum Friday for a second time after its success in 2012, the museum said in a statement.
Staff members will hold spiders so visitors can examine them, including species ranging from the desert hairy scorpion to the western black widow.
Part of the goal of the exhibit is to show off not only how interesting arachnids are, but to dispel common myths about them, organizers said. For example, not all spiders neglect their offspring and not all spider bites are harmful to humans.
Spiders are "ambassadors from the natural world that can teach us about the diversity of life, the fragility of natural systems, and our own responsibility to study and steward life on Earth," museum president Ellen Futter said in a statement.
According to the museum, "the spiders on one acre of woodland alone consume more than 80 pounds of insects a year."
The exhibit, which opens on July 4 and runs through Nov. 2, is designed to showcase the important role spiders play on earth, as well as explain their anatomy and behavior.