It’s been a while since I last updated. I was in North Thailand for a few weeks! While there, I came across something very interesting- namely two museums dedicated entirely to Entomology.
The first museum I encountered was the Siam Insect Zoo, which is about 40 minutes outside the Northern city of Chiang Mai by Tuk Tuk. The “zoo” is divided into two parts- an insect breeding program and butterfly farm, and a huge display consisting of thousands of insects. There is a heavy emphasis on the diversity of the insect world in these displays, and each order and family of insects (as well as arachnids and myriapods) is represented. There are also displays that focus on historical and modern methods of insect collecting and a display dedicated to Linnaeus.
The second museum I visited (The Museum of World Insects and Natural Wonders) is based in the centre of Chiang Mai. It has been described as “one woman’s lifelong passion for mosquitoes” and appropriately enough, is located quite near the local malaria hospital. The museum was established in 1999 by the couple Dr. Manop and Dr. Rampa Rattanarithikul. Dr. Rampa began working as a technician collecting mosquito specimens for the United States Operations Mission (USOM) malaria control program in 1959. She has since published 44 academic papers, described 13 new species of mosquitoes and found 23 new species that have yet to be described. Dr. Ralph Harbach, a U.S. Entomologist at the Natural History Museum in London cites her work as a “major contribution- without it we would be 40 years behind in that region.”
I was lucky enough to meet and speak to Dr Rampa who was very encouraging towards me as a budding museum professional! She showed me round the museum, which also contains impressive taxonomic displays of insects and other invertebrates. Several termite and hymenoptera nests also adorned the walls and ceiling.
My favorite group of insects: Fulgoridae
I hope to return to Chaing Mai at some point and hopefully contribute some work to the Museum of World Insects! Thank you Dr. Rampa, for running such an amazing museum.