Museum curator John Marris with a few of the beetles’ boxes

Much travelled beetles

by Mike Isle

Beetles and their Fab Four namesakes The Beatles have one thing in common — a long and winding road; the latter sang it, the former travelled it.

The Lincoln University Entomology Research Collection, one of the largest of its type in New Zealand, recently received its largest-ever private donation of insects.

Moreover, some of the collection has travelled a long way to get there.

Dunedin-based amateur entomologist, John Nunn, has donated thousands of beetle specimens sourced from a range of countries.

Museum curator John Marris said Mr Nunn is a well-known collector who has several species named after him, and the university strongly appreciated his gesture.

The new specimens, laid out in 100 boxes, are predominantly overseas beetles and are a valuable resource for staff and students doing insect-based research and to help “put a face to a name,” Marris said.

The specimens, which Mr Nunn had collected himself during many years or traded with other collectors, ranged from Japan, China, India, Malaysia and Australia.

Marris said the latter specimens were especially useful, because of their close relationships with native New Zealand insects. He said the museum has had many donations and welcomed them, but this was a particularly significant one from a private collector.