Entomology Collection at Drexel University in Philadelphia

The Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University in Philadelphia is America’s oldest natural history museum. Established in 1812, it has a collection of 19 million specimens, with 4 million insect specimens, representing about 100,000 species of insects. 

Jon Gelhaus is Curator of Entomology at the ANS, where he has worked since 1990. He looks after the Entomology Collection. Since 2012, he has also been Professor in the Biodiversity, Earth and Environmental Science department where he teaches courses in Conservation Biology, Entomology, and Plant and Animal Identification. Entomology is the study of insects.

Jon Gelhaus and Jennifer Sontchi, Senior Director of Exhibits and Public Spaces at The Academy of Natural Sciences (ANS), presented a small portion of the collection during a live streaming event on 12 August 2021.

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Oblique-Lined Tiger Beetle

The Oblique-Lined Tiger Beetle (Cicindela tranquebarica) is a large insect in the Carabidae family of ground beetles. 

The Oblique-Lined Tiger Beetle has a small rounded head, a small thorax (chest), and a long brown-grey abdomen (body). It has yellowish lines on its back, on its wing covers, called elytra. One wing cover is called an elytron. It has wings and can fly. Its antennae are long, black, and ridged. It has a groove on its foreleg with a comb of hairs used for cleaning its antennae. It has bulging eyes. It has six long, thin, hairy legs. 

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Do Animals eat Cactus Plants?

Do animals eat cactus plants? 

Cactus plants in the Cactaceae family of spiny plants. Most cactus plants live in dry, desert environments. They are common in America, South America, and Africa.

The plural of cactus is cacti or cactuses.

Cacti can be tree-like with branches, domed or ball-shaped, and thick or thin columns. They have flowers of various colours, shapes, and sizes. Fruit is produced after the flowers are fertilized. 

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RESEARCH: Insect numbers are decreasing

German researchers wanted to determine the effects of urbanisation on insect numbers. They found that insects are disappearing more quickly than they expected.

The researchers collected more than one million insects across 300 sites in Germany in 2008. They did the same exercise in the same sites 10 years later in 2018. They wrote about their experiment results in the Nature journal in 2019.

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Animal Ears: do big animals have big ears?

Do big animals have big ears and small animals have small ears? No, animal ears are many sizes and shapes.

Most ears have an outer ear (a pinna, a canal, and an eardrum), a middle ear, and an inner ear.

The pinna is the fleshy part that is visible. It is made of cartilage, not bone, so it is soft. It usually also has an ear lobe. The pinna directs sound through the canal to the eardrum.

The pinna has a muscle that moves the ear. For example, elephants and dogs can move their ears. Animals move their ears in the direction of a sound so that they can hear better.

Not all animals can move their ears because they have weak and non-functioning ear muscles. Animals that cannot move their ears include gorillas and monkeys. Humans cannot move their ears (without touching them).

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Deserts and Semi-Deserts

In true deserts, most of the land has no plant life, the annual rainfall ranges from 0-1.5 centimetres (0-6 inches), the daytime heat is intense and the nighttime temperatures are freezing.

Semi-deserts have 1.5-3 centimetres (6-12 inches) of rain annually on average, usually only falling in one or two months of the year.

Deserts can be hot, cold semi-arid, or coastal.

Plants may be scarce in most deserts, but the seeds of plants lie dormant for years. They sprout during the times of rain.

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