Museum caterpillars part 3

While at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, (see previous posts here and here) I did manage to tear myself away from the collections long enough to browse some of the public exhibits. I did not go into the butterfly house (didn’t have my wallet with me, you have to pay to enter), but I did see some caterpillars!

There was a whole section of the museum devoted to insects and invertebrates, with many live organisms on display. There were a lot of the usual suspects (mantids, tarantulas, roaches), but they also had some hornworms (Manduca sexta). There was a display with a multitude of pupae, a few caterpillars, and one freshly emerged adult. It was being nibbled by a persistent, and apparently violent, caterpillar. I do not know why.

bug zoo 1 copyThere was also a display where you could see some pupae of various species hanging – waiting for their chance to emerge and become part of the butterfly house. There were not just butterflies, though. I could see many moth cocoons, the fuzzier looking ones at the bottom.

bug zoo 2 copy

And I really liked the displays! The blatant emphasis on evolution in almost every single display and description is refreshing (the hall of human origins is wonderful). Whenever I start to despair and worry that there is not hope for humanity to accept science, I should go visit a natural history museum. They don’t hold back. bug zoo 4 copy

Now I just need to start planning my next trip back. Hopefully within the next few months! (and maybe I’ll schedule some time to be a tourist)

Posted on April 3, 2013, in Invertebrates, Lepidoptera and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I love natural history museums. And how great they show so many invertebrates!!!! We are having a butterfly display in the greenhouse at the botanical garden here in Prague soon, they have the pupae displayed stuck on the stick, they are all from Stradford upon Avon in the UK – they let them hatch and fly around and feed the butterflies. I will take some photos and blog about them, maybe you will like it 🙂

  2. That’s so cool that they have all three stages of the Tobacco Hornworm live in that exhibit. We got some hornworms for the kids to feed, watch and learn. 3 of them have just dug in to pupate this week. Can’t wait to show them your picture so they can see what the moth will look like and what the pupae look like under the soil.

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Ryerson Lab

Functional Morphology, Sensory Biology, Behavior, Biomechanics

I spell it nature

Trying to make sense of the world through science and language.

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