Beautiful Bugs

Explore specimens from our entomology collection, plus a few highlight from other collections at National Museums Scotland. Find out more: http://www.nms.ac.uk
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Megaloprepus caerulatus, damselfly, dried specimen. Insects evolved the ability to fly over 400 million years ago and today there are so many flying insects, it is not known how many millions of species there are.

Megaloprepus caerulatus, damselfly, dried specimen. Insects evolved the ability to fly over 400 million years ago and today there are so many flying insects, it is not known how many millions of species there are.

Antheraea polyphemus, wild silk moth, male, dried specimen. Female wild silk moths produce a chemical pheromone which attracts male moths for mating. Males can find females up to 4.5 kilometres away. Their antennae are very sensitive, with hair-like receptors that respond to a single molecule of pheromone. To make sure that they do not miss a female’s attractive perfume, the antennae are shaped like feathers to maximize the surface area.

Antheraea polyphemus, wild silk moth, male, dried specimen. Female wild silk moths produce a chemical pheromone which attracts male moths for mating. Males can find females up to 4.5 kilometres away. Their antennae are very sensitive, with hair-like receptors that respond to a single molecule of pheromone. To make sure that they do not miss a female’s attractive perfume, the antennae are shaped like feathers to maximize the surface area.

Tropidacris dux, grasshopper, dried specimen.  Some insects have big eye spots on their bodies which they flash at predators, hoping to scare them away. Predators may think that these eyes belong to bigger animals or the flash of these bright patches could just be used to startle.

Tropidacris dux, grasshopper, dried specimen. Some insects have big eye spots on their bodies which they flash at predators, hoping to scare them away. Predators may think that these eyes belong to bigger animals or the flash of these bright patches could just be used to startle.

Achatinella sp., Hawaiian tree snail, shell, six specimens

Achatinella sp., Hawaiian tree snail, shell, six specimens

Cepaea nemoralis, brown lipped snail, dried specimens

Cepaea nemoralis, brown lipped snail, dried specimens

Lethocerus sp., giant water bug, dried specimen

Lethocerus sp., giant water bug, dried specimen

Phyllium giganteum, leaf insect, dried specimen

Phyllium giganteum, leaf insect, dried specimen

Heteropteryx dilatata, stick insect, dried specimen

Heteropteryx dilatata, stick insect, dried specimen

Sterling silver dragonfly brooch with four wings, tapered body and turquoise eyes, stamped throughout: USA, New Mexico, Navajo, maker unknown, c. 1940s

Sterling silver dragonfly brooch with four wings, tapered body and turquoise eyes, stamped throughout: USA, New Mexico, Navajo, maker unknown, c. 1940s

Woodblock depicting a dragonfly, wood, one of a collection of woodblocks of illustrations used by W. & R. Chambers Ltd, 1840s - early 20th century

Woodblock depicting a dragonfly, wood, one of a collection of woodblocks of illustrations used by W. & R. Chambers Ltd, 1840s - early 20th century

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