Escape to the American Museum of Natural History

The Lord Howe stick insect is shiny black and can measure up to seven inches long.

For decades it was believed to be extinct, until a small population was discovered on a small island off the coast of Australia.

“They’re ancient bloodlines, they’re vegetarians, they eat plants, they really don’t do anything to harm humans, they’re sort of a close relative of things like grasshoppers,” said Associate Curator Dr Jessica Ware. at Invertebrate Zoology at the American Museum of Natural History.


What do you want to know

  • Extinct and Endangered: Insects in Peril, is a new exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History on the Upper West Side
  • The exhibition features 40 close-up photos of various insects, including bees, butterflies and beetles
  • Insects help maintain the health of natural ecosystems around the planet, but many insect species are in decline
  • There are 1.5 million species of insects

It’s one of 40 insects featured in these larger-than-life extreme close-up photos taken by Levon Bliss, in an exhibit called Extinct and Endangered, Insects in Peril.

The exhibition, curated by the museum’s David Grimaldi, aims to show the beauty of insects in bees, butterflies and beetles. These insects are threatened with extinction due to factors such as habitat loss and climate change, and their importance to ecosystems around the world.

“A lot of us are a little worried and we want people to be invested in the future of insects because the future of insects is the future of our own species, the future of humanity,” Ware said.

At the back of the museum, in a room not open to the public, millions of insect specimens are stored. They are accompanied by an information panel indicating the actual size of the insect.

The exhibit comes as the museum prepares for the opening of its new Richard Gilder Center for Science, Education and Innovation this winter.

The exhibit will feature the Solomon Family Insectarium, where more of the insect collection will be on public display.

“These bugs have been in drawers with the doors closed in some cases for 100 years, so it’s a chance to see them appear, to be on display, seen by millions of people every year,” Ware said.

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