Catalogue number: Drawer 27
Wallace's specimens of Asian bugs, wasps, bees, earwigs, bush-crickets and other insects.
This drawer of Wallace's insect specimens is one that was restored from a jigsaw of broken limbs and bodies. The result is a magnificent display of 51 individuals covering a wide variety of insect groups. Among them are bugs (Hemiptera), wasps and bees (Hymenoptera), earwigs (Dermaptera) and bush-crickets (Tettigoniidae).
Most prominent is the female giant shield-back bush-cricket (Siliquofera grandis) from New Guinea (the largest specimen seen top-middle). It is almost certainly the one illustrated by a woodcut in Wallace's book The Malay Archipelago (1869, vol. 2, page 434), where Wallace gives a description of its appearance and habits. He ends explaining 'these insects are sluggish in their motion, depending for safety on their resemblance to foliage, their horny shield and wing-covers, and their spiny legs'. This species is fairly common in New Guinea and it has one of the greatest wingspans of any bush-cricket (wingspans of over 27cm have been recorded).
For enquiries about the Wallace Collection please email the library
View high resolution scans and transcripts of Alfred Russel Wallace's correspondence, including all surviving letters between him and Charles Darwin.