Skip navigation

The NaturePlus Forums will be offline from mid August 2018. The content has been saved and it will always be possible to see and refer to archived posts, but not to post new items. This decision has been made in light of technical problems with the forum, which cannot be fixed or upgraded.

We'd like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has contributed to the very great success of the forums and to the community spirit there. We plan to create new community features and services in the future so please watch this space for developments in this area. In the meantime if you have any questions then please email:

Fossil enquiries: esid@nhm.ac.uk
Life Sciences & Mineralogy enquiries: bug@nhm.ac.uk
Commercial enquiries: ias1@nhm.ac.uk

What's new at the Museum

4 Posts tagged with the nature_live_talks tag
0

Talking of butterflies

Posted by Rose Jun 7, 2013

Outside the Museum there are now about 700 free-flying tropical butterflies enjoying the exotic undergrowth of our Sensational Butterflies house. 'In 6 weeks there may be more than 1,000,' our butterfly house manager Luke Brown tells me excitedly, with news of the first zebra butterfly larvae appearing. These should metamorphose into 100s of adult butterflies over the next few weeks.

 

The enchanting yet fleeting stars of our butterfly show never cease to captivate us and this Sunday, Luke will be giving visitors to the Museum an extra flutter in his free talk in the Attenborough Studio. The half-hour talk, A House of Butterflies, runs at 12.30 and again at 14.30 on 9 June.

zebra-luke-sfavourite.jpg

Meet Heliconius charitonia commonly known as the zebra butterfly, and Luke Brown (below) commonly known as our butterfly house manager, in our butterfly house and find out more about both at our free talk this weekend. Close up zebra courtesy of Inzilbeth.

luke-fave-butterfly-1500.jpg

Accompanied by colleague Kerry, Luke's talk will explore some of our most-loved species including his own personal favourite, the zebra butterfly, Heliconius charitonia (pictured above). He hopes to bring along some caterpillars, eggs and specimens (but no live butterflies as they might not like the lights in the studio) and talk a little about the history of the butterfly house and the exhbition itself.

 

The first butterfly house arrived here in 2008 and has become a regular spring-summer annual attraction at the Museum, following a brief absence last year. This year's exhibition which opened at the end of March has been the most successful to date.

 

A butterfly fan since he was a little boy, Luke asked for a greenhouse for his sixth Christmas and ended up running his own company, The Butterfly Gardener Ltd and putting on butterfly shows all over the world. He looks forward to the continued success of Sensational Butterflies and taking his passion further afield to places like the Middle East and Brazil, with a personal project planned for the south coast.

 

Drop into the talk if you can and especially if you're visiting the Sensational Butterflies exhibition. Go on your own butterfly trail through the Museum taking in the Cocoon building and the Wildlife Garden nearby.

 

Don't forget to send in any great photos of butterflies wherever you may snap them and from inside Sensational Butterflies to our Pinterest board for a chance to win some butterfly goodies.  My recent favourites are of the glasswing and butterfly shoes, and congratulations to last month's competition winner.

 

Find out about visiting Sensational Butterflies and tickets and other butterfly events

A House of Butterflies is on 9 June and Butterflies in Disguise is on 15 June

Check out The Butterfly Gardener website

 

Get help with identifiying butterflies and caterpillars

 

If you can't make it to the Museum for our free events, we also webcast some live. Look out for these talks next week: The World I Want and Extinct Ice Age Giants

0

On 20 July 2011, we celebrate the 207th birthday of Sir Richard Owen, the driving force behind the creation of the Natural History Museum, which during his time was called the British Museum of Natural History.

 

It was in 1856 that Owen became the first Superintendent of the British Museum's natural history departments and immediately began to campaign for a new museum dedicated to natural history. The rest is history.. well, natural history to be exact.

young-richard-owen-1000.jpgolder-richard-owen-1000.jpg

Portraits of the Museum's founding father and inventor of 'dinosaurs', Sir Richard Owen (1804-1892) as a young man and later on in life

Sir Richard Owen was one of the most important scientists in history, but many may not know his name. Besides being the founding father of our Museum, he achieved many great things in his long life, from coining the word 'dinosaur' to revolutionising the study of animal anatomy and creating the life-size Crystal Palace dinosaurs that we can still see today (pictured below).

 

Without him the world of natural history and the Museum would be very different. During the height of his power he was a celebrity of Victorian England and even gave the Queen's children biology lessons.

 

But Owen was also a controversial figure. His gifts to science and the country brought him incredible fame and power. With these came enemies. His manipulative and hostile personality didn't gain him favours and his rivalry with Darwin and Darwin's supporters was well-known. Later on, his reputation suffered as allegations of taking credit for other scientists’ work abounded.

richard-owen-statue.jpg

 

After his death, his legacy was forgotten and it has only been in the last two decades that his story has been revived.

 

Join us on Wednesday 20 July at 14.30 in the Attenborough Studio for a special Nature Live talk celebrating Sir Richard Owen's birthday. We'll rediscover exactly what Owen did for us, explore his life and delve into why he is still controversial today.

 

Left: Admire our statue of Sir Richard Owen in the mezzanine gallery behind the Central Hall when you next visit. (Turn left at the top of the grand Central Hall staircase.)

owen-dino-crystal-485.jpg

 

Right: Dinosaur models sculpted by Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins working closely with Joseph Paxton and Sir Richard Owen, were installed in the world's first dinosaur park which opened at Crystal Palace Park in 1854.

 

Find out more about Sir Richard Owen online

2

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?

leaf-insect-1000.jpg
'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.


0

penguin-couple.jpg

Let's stay together

Lovers’ day is reputedly named after one or more of the early Christian martyrs named Valentine – pretty apt, as we are all martyrs to the unstoppable Valentine’s Day marketing machine nowadays. But hey, let’s not get too cynical, it’s a day for remembering love, passion and friendship, which can’t be bad.

 

Times like these, it’s good to look to a different source for inspiration, and what better than the natural world to get you in the mood for love…

 

Cut to the chase. How do you show you’re attracted to someone? Play hard to get, nuzzle close, strut your best dance moves, or stick like glue? And what’s the best way to your heart? Tasty meal, gorgeous gift, or undivided attention?

 

Maybe the animals and our scientists can show us a thing or two at the Love in the Natural World event here at the Museum on Sunday. It promises to be a really enjoyable blind date experiment with nature. Come along to the Attenborough Studio and join us, it’s free. (There’s a late morning and early afternoon session.)

aurora-diamonds-62.jpg

 

While you’re here at the Museum, have a peek around the dazzling Vault gallery and see which jewels can really impress.

 

On the theme of natural love and animal attraction, here are a few things to ponder:

  • apparently some of the most faithful animals are voles and penguins
  • the male deep-sea angler fish gets so attached to his female mate, his mouth literally fuses with her skin and their bloodstreams merge
  • how romantic snowdrops can be - for places to see them, try BBC Countryfile's 5 best snowdrop gardens or Valentine's Day Snowdrop Walk at Keswick
  • bonobos are the only non-human animal to indulge in pretty much every kind of sexual behaviour and orientation - l'll leave this to your imagination.

 

Easy Tiger

 

It’s also Chinese New Year on Sunday and the start of the Year of the Tiger. That Valentine's Day and Chinese New Year coincide is rare, and bodes well. It means the entire year is going to be filled with passion and great love.

 

tigers-mating.jpgThis is significant because the most critically endangered of all our tigers is the South Chinese (Amoy) tiger. There could be fewer than 30 left in the wild... The United Nations has put the tiger at the top of its list of 'most important’ endangered animals to be saved in 2010.


There was a recent heartening news story from the Telegraph about a very romantic couple of these tigers breeding on a South African reserve, called Tigerwoods and Madonna (pictured here in a loved-up state). The aim is to relocate them in China at some point. Tigerwoods has fathered 7 cubs so far. Long may you mate! Reportedly tigers only pair for a few days during mating, while the female is fertile. But in that time, if the male is unchallenged, they can mate up to 100 times. Blimey.

 

The main Chinese New Year celebrations in London’s Trafalgar Square are on 21 February, but there will be festivities starting this Sunday in Chinatown. Enjoy.

 

 

Picture: 'Tigerwoods mounting Madonna' © Save China's Tigers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike