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3 Posts tagged with the entomology tag

Following the amazing success of last year's event, we're gearing up for our second Science Uncovered festival on Friday 23 September.


The Museum's Science Uncovered event celebrates European Researchers' Night in London, and we join over 300 other cities across Europe in our festivities.


This year looks set to be on a much grander and more impressive scale than in 2010. We're opening a lot more of the Museum on the night. The dazzling array of shows, discussion opportunities, behind-the-scenes tours and fun activities such as Crime Scene Live and Science Fight Club, will reveal just how varied and cutting-edge our scientific research is here.


To avoid disappointment through some activities being over-subscribed on the night, you can pre-book tickets in advance. The evening is free to attend and all the activiities are free. Even if you don't pre-book, there are lots of things to drop-in on and enjoy during the evening and some family activities that start in the late afternoon.


I asked Stephen Roberts, the Museum's Nature Live team manager, who's masterminding this science extravaganza to tell us more:


'This year's Science Uncovered is a mind-boggling realisation! There are hundreds of different opportunities for visitors to spend time with some of the world's greatest scientists who are coming out, for one night only, in the stunning setting of the Museum at night, and over a drink too.

A star attraction at the Zoology Science Station in Fossil Way is sure to be the Tasmanian tiger cub specimen held in our collections. The above is a mounted adult specimen of the now extinct Tasmanian tiger.

'Two hundred of our own scientists are joined by over 100 other researchers from around London whose expertise ranges from mammoths to Mars, phytoplankton to philosophy and surgery to spiders. There is, quite literally, something for everybody.


'As well as the amazing objects coming out of the collections for the first time, like the now extinct Tasmanian tiger (pictured above) an unprecedented 92 tours will take visitors to some of our favourite places and spaces in and around the Museum.


'The word unmissable is bandied about in the media, but if ever there were a time to use it for something happening at the Museum, this is it!'


Meteorites like Tamdakht above, which fell in Morocco 2008, are helping our scientists reveal the secrets of our solar system. The meteorite is on show at Science Uncovered's Space Station in the Museum's Red Zone.

Dr Michael Dixon, Director of the Natural History Museum says: 'We’re looking forward to welcoming even more people to this year’s event [about 7,000 visitors came in 2010], and inspiring them to take a fresh look at a subject they thought they already knew.'



So with five bars open and over 150 activites to join, it should be a great night out.


Have a look at our website to find out what's on. And if you're nearer Hertfordshire than London, our Tring Museum is also joining us on the night with its own celebrations.


See what's on at Science Uncovered at the Natual History Museum, London


Find out what's on at Science Uncovered at the Tring Museum


Book online for Science Uncovered ticketed events


You can also join our Science Uncovered community online now to see what scientists are preparing to discuss on the night and for more news and views.


Right: One of the Museum tours at Science Uncovered takes visitors into our Conservation Unit, pictured here, where you'll see how we mend everything from broken bones to casts and books.


What are you most squeamish about? Giant cockroaches, spiders, centipedes, scorpions, beetles or even moths?


Me, I'd say most of them, especially if they were the size of a hand or more. Luckily, most of the biggest bugs on our planet are usually found in jungle rainforests, savannahs and caves, or in the safety of our Museum collections.


However, this summer, some of our largest and heaviest insect and arachnid specimens are being let out to star in the Big Bugs exhibition at our Natural History Museum at Tring which opened yesterday and runs until 21 November.

The Australian rhinoceros cockroach is the heaviest cockroach in the world. A female was recorded at just over 1 oz (33.45gms).

From the safety of their exhibition display cases, despite my squeamishness, like many others I will find these mega mini-beasts utterly mesmerising to behold, and highly recommend a visit to Big Bugs. The exhibition is free.

Live creatures like the venomous Emperor scorpion and world's longest stick insect at 14 inches, are on show alongside many rare and incredible specimens from the Natural History Museum's collection. It's the first time that all these enormous bug specimens have been displayed together.

And it's not just the scary bugs and spiders you'll meet, but eye-catching beauties like the delicate Helicopter damselfly and Queen Alexandra's Birdwing butterfly, the largest butterfly in the world.


There will also be creepy-crawly activities for kids at the exhibition and other bug-related activities at Tring throughout the summer season.


The docile giant leaf bush-cricket from New Guinea has a maximun wingspan of 11 inches


The inspiration behind the exhibition is a recently published Museum book, Big Bugs Life-size by our Museum entomologist and bug expert, George Beccaloni, which features actual life-size pictures of each marvellous mini-beast included.



My favourites in the book are the nocturnal rhinoceros cockroach, which is the world's heaviest cockroach, and the giant leaf bush cricket with a wing span of a whopping 11 inches. But the white witch moth, below right, tops that with 12 inches and the greatest wingspan of any living insect.


Read the news story about the Big Bugs exhibition and book


The Natural History Museum at Tring is located in Hertfordshire.


Explore insects and spiders on our website. You can identify and discuss bugs on our bug forum




Click on the images to enlarge them.

Did you know, an incredible 80% of the world's known species are insects and the UK has about 23,500 different types? Or that stick insects make the perfect pets?

'I won't scratch the furniture, please can I be your family pet?' Our Insects as Pets event is on Saturday 26 June

It's definitely the small things in life that matter this week. We join other organisations and groups around the country to celebrate National Insect Week, from 21 to 27 June. We have special events going on all week and visitors will be able to meet some of our insect experts and their creepy-crawly companions.


Highlights of the week include Thursday night's insect talk, Six-Legged Wonders: The Return on 24 June in the Attenborough Studio, where you'll hear from 3 Museum entomologists who reveal insect truths. The talk also features an insect trivia quiz and the bar is open for drinks outside the studio. Watch out for the deadliest insect, so deadly in fact, it has to be kept in 2 separate bags... and some edible ants. You need to book for the Six-Legged Wonders ticketed event.


rose-chafer-Cetonia-aurata-500.jpgMy favourite event planned for Saturday is the Insects as Pets talk, where you'll discover what lovable crawlers stick insects and giant cockroaches can be. So I'm assured. On Saturday, there's also pond-dipping in our Wildlife Garden.


Find out about National Insect Week events and activities


Read the news story about National Insect Week


For events around the country, visit the official National Insect Week website

Watch out for some rare six-legged beauties, like the endangered Rose Chafer beetle, pictured right, in our online Species of the day insect series.


Discuss insects in our popular bug forum


Click on the images to enlarge them.