What if the ants crawling on your counter, the spider in your doorway, or the butterfly in your garden were the size of your car? What would they look like at that giant size? What bizarre physical characteristics would you notice? And what mind-boggling behaviors would you observe?

The UC Berkeley Lawrence Hall of Sciences' Xtreme BUGS exhibit, which is open now through Sept. 1, features more than 100 giant bugs, many of them animatronic, in vibrant naturalistic habitats. The collection includes a 15-foot-long Japanese hornet, a fluttering monarch butterfly, a ladybug, a line of marching ants, an orchid mantis, stinkbugs, spiders, honeybees, and more.

"There are many interesting parts of insects that are small and hard to see," says Erin Jarvis, a Ph.D. student at UC Berkeley's Department of Integrative Biology. "Xtreme BUGS is a chance for people to see what bugs really look like. And they look amazing! You can see the different types of appendages that are used for feeding, chewing, grabbing, crawling, flying, and swimming."

"Insects perform critical services to our ecosystem," says Dr. Peter Oboyski, Collections Manager & Senior Museum Scientist at UC Berkeley's Essig Museum of Entomology. "If they disappeared, our ecosystems would begin to collapse within weeks."

Visitors can compare the giant robotic bugs to their real-life counterparts in the Backyard Zoo that houses a Madagascar hissing cockroach, a scorpion, and a tarantula. They can observe an actual Argentine ant colony at work foraging for food, cleaning its members, and caring for larvae as it attempts to grow from a population of several hundred ants to a colony of thousands over the course of the exhibit.

Learn more about Xtreme BUGS on the exhibit website.

Lawrence Hall of Science members, UC Berkeley students and staff, and children age 3 and younger are admitted free of charge. UC employees systemwide can receive a complimentary youth admission with the purchase of a full priced adult admission by visiting lawrencehallofscience.org/youthpass and entering the code UCOP2014.