"Bugs...Outside the Box" at the Academy

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. - October 28,2011

Like so many things, a little understanding would go a long way, and that's the goal of the latest exhibit at the Academy of Natural Sciences.

"Bugs...Outside the Box" uses larger-than-life sculpture, live specimens and many from the institution's collection to let you see how bugs work and why they're built the way they are.

Artist Lorenzo Possenti created 16 huge sculptures to show bugs in amazing detail. He said they looked like alien creatures when he studied them.

Bugs have what scientists call an exoskeleton, a shell on the outside of the body that acts much like a suit of armor.

They also have many other unique features you'll be able to see and understand when you see his work.

Right alongside the sculpture is a series of glass cases housing bugs from the live collection.

You'll see them living their lives and doing what they do. Several times a day, an interpreter from the live animal staff will bring interesting bugs out and talk about them.

You might have the chance to hold a giant cockroach in your own hand, less scary once they explain what it is and how it lives. But there's more. Scientists from the museum are in the process of re-housing the entire collection of four million specimens in improved containers.

These will make the collection safer, and, therefore, available to researchers decades into the future.

The Academy is constantly collecting new specimens of creatures already in the system so they can study changes over time.

The environmental conditions under which each specimen lived are carefully noted. That way, if a trend is observed, it may be possible to determine what caused the change. If changes are caused by man-made factors, it may be possible to reverse them.

"Bugs...Outside the Box" is at the Academy through January 16th, free with your regular admission. For more information, visit their website at The Academy of Natural Sciences or phone the museum at 215-299-1000.
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