Leggy! Live Spiders & Their Relatives
As the caregiver for the creatures in the museum’s special exhibit, Leggy! Live Spiders & Their Relatives, Jill Stockbridge routinely puts her hands in the cages of several species of tarantulas and scorpions. Even so, there was only one species that spooked her. The centipede – a voracious predator known to bite unsuspecting humans.
“I had the container open and was trying to find the centipede,” she says. “But it wasn’t under the rock or anywhere I could see it. Then I realized it was feeling my sleeve with its antennae."
Her favorite Leggy! critters are the walking sticks, which she lets crawl around on her hands and sleeves. “I just love how they look like a stick with their long legs. It is funny that they are my favorite and the only insect that gives Derek (Sikes) the heebie-jeebies! I also play around with the darkling beetles.
Stockbridge has found her natural environment in the museum’s entomology department. The job combines science with her studies. She is pursuing a Master’s Degree in biology.
No matter where these leggy creatures thrive, Stockbridge has helped collect hundreds of specimens for the museum’s collection to help us understand the insect and spider species of Alaska for years to come. And she also helps keep some of them alive in the museum's special exhibit.