Friday, August 31, 2012

African Insects - A treasure Trove of Entomology

This past week we discussed how many insect species have been recorded so far, and how many there may in fact still be left to discover.  And in this biodiversity isn't just some other generic looking bug, no indeed. As I argued, insects are the place to look of you are interested in the remarkable elaboration of forms based on a basic "body plan."

...Well, hot of the presses of the New York Times website today, some reports from the field:  A group from Harvard, led by E.O. Wilson, went out to survey some of the insect of Mozambique. (Don't know where that is? Then please consult a map.)

It seems they came across over 3,00 species, recording 1,00 during the trip, and quadrupling the number of ants species known to occur there from 50 to 200. Not bad for a few weeks work. 

For example, they came across this amazing Orthopteran, the insect order of focus for us this week:


Antennae were ones of the things of class conversation touched on too. Check out the set this beetle has! I imagine it can pick up TV from Italy with them and maybe your laundry too!


You can enjoy the full slideshow HERE.   Be prepared to have your mind blown.

They are not only in Mozambique to survey new species, but also help restore a conservation area there post-civil war (so says the photo essay text)

The photographer, Piotr Naskrecki, does beautiful work and has a book out called 

The photo essay mentions how:
"To avoid killing his portrait subjects, one of the entomologists Piotr Naskrecki,  built an open-air studio of white fabric that the bugs were free to flee if they wanted. Some did, forcing Naskrecki to chase them down. Others stayed — perhaps out of curiosity. ‘‘They will look at you, they will judge you,’’ he says. ‘‘They were very suspicious of the camera, and they were very wary of me. I’m sure that none of these animals had ever seen a human. They did not know what to make of us.’’

Well that is what I call collecting insects ~


No comments: