1. Home>
  2. About Us>
  3. Museum News>
  4. For Media>
  5. Press Releases>
  6. Meet the beetles…like you’ve never seen before!

Meet the beetles…like you’ve never seen before!

New photo exhibition at Canadian Museum of Nature

Francois Génier © Canadian Museum of Nature.


Proagoderus rangifer, a dung beetle, Scarab family, South Africa
This beetle’s scientific name acknowledges a surprising resemblance to caribou, whose scientific name also includes a form of rangifer (Rangifer tarandus). One look at this insect’s impressive headdress, and it’s easy to see why.

Ottawa, December 22, 2015—Imagine coming face to face with a 65-centimetre-long dung beetle (the size of a large infant)!  No, this isn’t a scene from a horror movie, but rather the focus of a new photo exhibition at the Canadian Museum of Nature aptly named Beetles in Focus.

Eighteen striking photos introduce you to weevil and scarab beetles selected from the museum’s insect collection. In many of the images, the beetles are 400 times larger than in real life! Each one reveals dramatic colour, texture, pattern and individual body shape.

This beautiful photo collection is on display until November 30, 2016 in the museum’s Stone Wall Gallery. This location is used to feature the diversity of the museum’s collections of flora and fauna in creative and artistic ways.

To date there are 35,000 scarab beetle species and 70,000 weevil species that have been described—some of them by entomologist Dr. Bob Anderson, who is also the Museum’s Director of the Centre for Species Discovery and Change.

"In this show there’s a weevil from Guadeloupe and one from Costa Rica that I discovered," says Anderson. "In reality, the weevils are only about 7 mm in length, but through this amazing photography you can see their specialized hooked hairs which trap leaves for camouflage."

Nicole Dupuis © Canadian Museum of Nature


François Génier spends a lot of time adjusting the lighting to make important details visible in the photos.

The stunning images were created by museum collections manager and entomologist François Génier. For each specimen, Génier used a high-end Leica camera to capture numerous macro images, each with a separate point of focus—these were then merged to create one single image. For most specimens, careful preparation was needed —whether removing tiny clumps of dirt with a toothbrush and soap, or repositioning delicate body parts. The reward is a magnificent close-up view of each beetle’s head and body parts—even revealing the individual hairs on legs, which scientists can use to distinguish one species from another.

Beetles in Focus is free with regular museum admission. The new photo exhibit complements a range of bug-related attractions at the museum. The special exhibition, Bugs: Outside the Box (with surcharge) is on view until March 27, 2016. Screenings of Amazing Might Micro Monsters in the 3D theatre let visitors shrink down and step into the hidden world of super-powered bugs. And the daily holiday programming from Dec. 26 to Jan. 3 will offer even more great activities, from build-your-own-bug to insect identification and pinning.

The museum is located at 240 McLeod St. For information about fees and hours, visit nature.ca or phone 613.566.4700.

Information for media, or to request images or interviews:
Laura Sutin
Media Relations
Canadian Museum of Nature
613.566.4781; 613.698.9253

Dan Smythe
Media Relations
Canadian Museum of Nature
613.566.4781; 613.698.9253