As I frequently talk about my love of everything creepy and crawly on this blog, it’s appropriate that I would celebrate my recently completed collection of “Real Life Bugs” from National Geographic. The series has been going for a while, since last year, but we recently got the last few bugs and assembled them all in the display cases.
While some of the bugs are really great, such as the first scorpion they had, the quality of the individual critters can be very sketchy at times. In particular, some bugs like the Red Jewel Beetle had a lot of trouble coming through with their spectacular natural color intact. On the other hand, some other bugs were truly spectacular and are just about perfect, like the Flower Mantis.
By far the best part about getting this collection was the constant exclamations from my wife, who insisted that any beetle was a “cockroach” (a most scandalous accusation it must be said). Beetles and cockroaches are quite different, with many species of beetle being quite spectacular like the Golden Asian Stag Beetle in the collection box below:
This next one has one of the specimens I think turned out for the best, with the Dobsonfly Larvae (just on the left from the middle row) being a particular standout:
Possibly the pick of all the bugs in terms of how well their process preserved the detail and actual shape of the insect is the New Guinea Jewel Stag Beetle (middle right in this box):
That bug just preserved absolutely perfectly! Finally the last box is a collection of much larger critters and shows some of the flaws in their process clearly. The Stag Beetle (Second from the right on top) in particular turned out pretty poorly. On the other hand, the Whip Scorpion (second from the left on the bottom) and cricket (far right on bottom) were both terrific:
Overall I was pretty happy with the collection, with some specimens being stand outs but others being not so great. The books that come with each one were pretty great though and the little bug house, which came as a free bonus, has made a couple of appearances on the blog already (I use it as a photography studio). Overall pleased with the subscription and end result!
Note: If you’re worried, they didn’t go into the wild, catch bugs and then encase them in plastic. They used only species that could be lab/factory grown for the purposes of making this collection. They’re also not brutally murdered by being encased in plastic, being humanely killed by ethanol immersion (or gassing) first and then encased. Hence no endangered species or anything in this collection!