New projects in Entomology

After some discussion I have two projects to do in Entomology for the next few months. The first involves updating the Fulgoridae database with photographs and up to date systematic names, the second is curating the largest and most important collection of earwigs in the UK. I’m very excited about both.

Fulgoridae are somewhat mysterious insects. Not many taxonomists in the UK study them. They superficially resembled moths and butterflies, and they are often referred to as “Lantern Flies.” However, they are none of these things. They belong to the order Hemiptera, the “true bugs” and as such are not as commonly studied as their Coleopteron and Lepidopteron counterparts. Fulgoridae are found in the tropics, in particular Central and South America and Asia. Part of their heads are hollow and contain a structure that resembles a strange snout.

When the naturalist and illustrator Maria Sibylla Merian first saw them, she assumed that the structure emitted light. This proved to be unfounded, but the name “lantern fly” stuck and Carl Linnaeus himself named several species laternaria, phosphorea and candelaria.

wonderful things...

My second project will be working with the earwigs. Part of the collection has already been databased, but much work still needs to be done. It is an extremely important collection, as not only is it the largest in the UK, but contains 276 type specimens. Collections are valued on how much variety there is in the collection, and how many of these specimens were originally Types.
I’ll be updating this blog about my progress on both projects in the coming weeks.

About Gina Allnatt

I have just finished a year long traineeship as a Biology Curator at Manchester Museum. I am currently a research and curation volunteer in the Entomology and Botany departments. -Gina Allnatt
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