Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Bugs on the side

kw: natural history, museums, collections, photographs

The Delaware Museum of Natural History is primarily known for mollusks (mainly sea shells but also squids and their relatives) and birds. That is what it was set up for. But every natural history museum winds up amassing collections of all kinds. Today I happened across a few cabinets of insects. There is a set of covered drawers that hold the cataloged specimens, but nearby are a few cabinets containing donations that have been received but are not yet processed (except for the freeze-thaw-freeze pest extermination part).

For your delectation, here are two photos of small cases as they came from the donor:

These are large moths. At the top, from left to right, familiar species of North America: the Cecropia, Luna and Polyphemus moths. The large specimen in the center is the Birdwing Moth or White Witch Moth of Central and South America, the largest in the world at 11 inches across (28 cm). I don't know what the lower three are.

These are cicadas. The familiar "17-year locust" cicada of North America is represented by the bottom three specimens. The three larger ones are from other parts of the world. Considering how clumsily the local cicadas fly, I'd hate to have that big one come bumbling into me at high speed!

I took these photos on cabinet trays, and had to shoot at an angle to avoid reflections from ceiling lights.