An Inordinate Fondness for Barely Scratching the Tip of the Iceberg


Alex Surcică , of facebook’s Digital Museum of Natural History, has created this wonderful poster covering a diversity of beetles from eastern North America. You can order a copy clicking through the link.

The poster represents a tremendous effort on Alex’s part- 90 photographs of stubborn, difficult to control live insects composited into a single montage- yet even this work records just a minuscule slice of beetle diversity. You’d need at least 12,000 such posters to cover the documented diversity of beetles. Never mind the 10,000 or so additional posters required to address the remaining undescribed species. The number of beetles is nearly incomprehensible.


4 thoughts on “An Inordinate Fondness for Barely Scratching the Tip of the Iceberg”

  1. “I suppose you are an entomologist?
    Not quite so ambitious as that, sir. I should like to put my eyes on the individual entitled to that name. No man can be truly called an entomologist, sir; the subject is too vast for any single human intelligence to grasp.”

    From – The Poet at the Breakfast Table by Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

  2. Pingback: Innumerable Insects | Formicidae Fantasy

  3. Lovely! The factoid I sometimes use is that you could have an Insect-of-the-Month calendar and not have to reuse a species for 80,000 years. This of course depends on which of the many estimates of species numbers you use, but it helps drive the point home.

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