The Man Who Collected 80,000 Beetles

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Next month marks 100 years since the death of the world’s greatest beetle collector and our Young Journalists have had an exclusive invitation to the Rare Books Room at the Natural History Museum (NHM) to find out more about a remarkable, but largely forgotten, man.

w1This  man is Alfred Rusel Wallace. His books and papers are carefully preserved at the NHM but our journalists from Millfield Heighington Primary Academy were able to see them at close quarters.

Wallace’s work as a surveyor involved spending a lot of time outdoors in the countryside, giving him the opportunity to develop his interest in nature by studying the behaviour of insects.

One of the great forgotten heroes

w2Later, risking his life in jungles around the world, he collected more than 126,000 specimens, including over 80,000 beetles! Several thousand of the species were new to science, like the gliding tree frog known as Wallace’s flying frog.

He is as important as the more famous Charles Darwin and it’s hoped that the many planned ‘Wallace 100’ events now being launched across the UK will give him the recognition that he surely deserves.


You can see our journalists in the Rare Books Room and listen to Jake’s interview with archivist Caroline Catchpole here:

One Response to The Man Who Collected 80,000 Beetles

  1. 16andzelikagri December 16, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    Wow!that was fantastic 80’000 beetles were there home can be?