Tuesday, December 11, 2012


At the end of November,we went to the Natural History Museum in London at the invitation of my old mucker Roger Booth. Roger is resident coleopterist, and a world authority on beetles. Nature is wonderful, Nature is amazing, Nature is breathtaking, etc, but nothing prepared me for the stunning variety of beetles we saw in the museum collection. Every shape size and colour you can imagine, and then some. And, according to Roger, it is estimated that there are still zillions of species waiting to be discovered. 

Particularly fascinating for me was his work on identifying and cataloguing the myriad insects in old collections that are only now being sifted through. In order to do this work, he has to consult really ancient books and documents, you know, the kind with blotting-paper pages and where the s's look like f's. On top of that, most of the descriptions are in Latin. Furthermore, the old entomologists delighted in naming species after characters from Greek mythology, so Dr Booth also keeps a copy of Lempriere's Classical Dictionary by his side.
Great stuff!

No comments: