The Most Accurate Sculptures Of The World’s Most Bizarre Looking Insects Were Forgotten For Nearly A Century
There are currently more than 900,000 different insect species on the planet that have been described by scientists, and even more that have not been described. This means that insects account for 80 percent of all of the earth’s animal species. Many insect species appear quite similar, and some can hardly be discerned with the naked eye. As you can imagine, keeping track of the physical differences between more than 900,000 insect species can be challenging given their relatively tiny body size. However, creating large replicas of certain insects can help both laymen and professionals to observe important physical features that are unique to certain insect species. Large insect replicas are often placed within museums so that visitors can gain a better view of an insect’s defining features. Before genetic testing allowed entomologists to better discern between different insect species, creating lifelike replicas of insects was all the more important. During the 1940s, a majority of the most sophisticated insect replicas were destroyed in bombing campaigns over Europe, but the only one that survived to this day is still fascinating entomologists on account of its incredible detail and accuracy.
During the early part of the 19th century, a German blacksmith named Alfred Keller began creating models of some of the world’s most bizarre looking insects for the Museum of Natural History in Germany. Keller would spend up to a year creating one single insect replica from everyday materials. During the 1930s, Keller created a replica of a housefly that included 2,653 individual bristles protruding from its body. One of Keller’s most impressive sculptures has survived to this day. This sculpture is a perfect replica of the Brazilian treehopper. This insect is outfitted with sharp horns on its body, which are likely meant to deter predators from eating this insect. Keller was known for creating accurate sculptures of insects that possessed unusual features, but sadly, it is believed that very few have survived to this day. While Keller’s contribution to the field of entomology has largely been forgotten, sculpting insect replicas has become a hobby that many people indulge regularly. In fact, insect replicas are widely available on Amazon and Etsy.
Have you ever seen a lifelike replica of an insect within a museum or zoo?