I saw one of these today, a real one, dead, pinned against moth-repellent in a drawer of beetles housed in the Bean Museum's insect collections. The most interesting things in the exhibit, however, were the boy specimens--four seventh-grade boys I was chaperoning on a tour of the insect collection guided by a nerdly entomologist who somehow captivated their attention for an hour and patiently tried to find specimens that would satisfy their curiosity about:
*the biggest insect in the collection (do you want wingspan? no, just massive.)
*the smallest insect in the collection (fleas on alcohol slides)
*the most deadly (the bee, fyi, who is the most dangerous animal by far in the U.S.)
*the weirdest (these huge walking-stick type insects from New Guinea)
*butterflies with clear wings and owl moths
Suddenly those boys were the cutest things I've ever seen, their baby faces, that in three or four years will be handsome, animated and looking engaged with the material in a way that I don't often see in the classroom. Being that I teach English. (In my limited experience with Jr. High and High School boys, many of them seem particularly resistant to writing in the classroom, or maybe they're just resistant to me.)
I wish I could make this happen every day, but for now having a beautiful moment among 2,000,000 specimens of insects was just really, really good.