A new exhibit making its debut this month at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University features the mind-boggling behaviors and extreme characteristics of some of the earth’s most fascinating creatures—in the extreme.
Xtreme Bugs, opening Saturday, May 26, features nearly 20 giant, moving, hissing, clicking insects from around the world. Picture this: an 18-feet-long wiggling centipede, a five-feet-long blood-sucking bed bug, a 12-feet-tall hissing, pink orchid mantis.
Xtreme Bugs blends technology, science, artistry and imagination to capture the most unusual aspects of the insect world. From a fluttering, oversized monarch butterfly to a gigantic Madagascar hissing cockroach, the exaggerated size of these creatures shines a creative spotlight on what makes them extreme.“Not only are these enormous animatronic insects such fun to examine up close, but we can also learn a lot about their extreme behaviors and the physical characteristics that allow bugs to thrive and survive,” said Academy President and CEO Scott Cooper.
Visitors to Xtreme Bugs will experience a bug’s-eye view of their world, explore critter calls, dig for ancient arthropods, play a bug facts game, and learn why insects are so vital to our daily lives.
“These fantastic models give the visitor the view I get when I look at these insects under the microscope in carrying out my research” said Jon Gelhaus, PhD, an entomologist and curator of the Academy’s world class insect collection. “Insects are so important to our lives—pollinating most of our food crops, giving us honey and silk, keeping pest insects and plants in check, breaking down leaves into soil.
“This exhibit gives us a chance to appreciate how bizarrely wonderful they look, but also how important they are in our world’s ecology,” Gelhaus said.
A variety of live insects will be on view for close-up inspection in the adjacent Butterflies! exhibit and the Outside In children’s discovery center. Every Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday at 11:45 a.m. Academy experts will give short insect talks and answer questions.
Xtreme Bugs, created by Dinosaurs Unearthed, Corp., will be on view through Jan. 21, 2019. Western Pest is the presenting sponsor for Xtreme Bugs, which also is supported by a generous donation from VWR Charitable Foundation.
By Carolyn Belardo