Photos: Highlights from the National Insect Museum

The National Insect Museum at the Indian Council for Agricultural Research-National Bureau of Agricultural Insect Resources (ICAR-NBAIR) in Bengaluru is

Updated on Nov 13, 2021 03:37 PM IST 5 Photos

The Kikiki Huna: This is the smallest winged insect in the world, measuring about 0.6 mm. The genus Kikiki was recorded in India for the first time in 2013 in Tamil Nadu. It took another two years to find enough female specimens to confirm species identity. “It’s a parasitic wasp which you cannot see with your naked eye,” says Ankita Gupta, the entomologist in charge of the museum and an expert in parasitic wasps. “But it has all the systems an insect should have — six legs, wings, a reproductory and a respiratory system.” (Photo courtesy ICAR-NBAIR)

Mummified larvae: Three specimens of larvae, secured in 1960, make up one of the most prized items in the collection. They were made by sucking out the internal sap of the larvae, the husk then disinfected and inflated with air. “Making these specimens is a lost art,” says Gupta.(HT Photo)

Giant stick insect: The longest insect in the world is also one of the hardest to find. The specimen of the giant stick insect in the collection of the National Insect Museum was donated by P Mahendran, an entomologist from the United Planters’ Association of Southern India, a tea research foundation in Coimbatore, who found it on the institute’s campus. (HT Photo)

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Leaf insects: Among the most prized collections at NIM are the mimicking mantids and leaf insects. “We found them by luck,” says Gupta. “They mimic leaves so well that it’s hard to find them.” (HT Photo)

Beetles: Members of the order Ceoleoptera, the largest order of insects, arrive at the museum by the sackful. An entire room is dedicated to this order of insects. Seen here are dung beetles from the family scarabaeidae. (HT Photo)

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