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Insects are the largest group of animals based on numbers of species. More than 13000 species of insects are found in Latvia, with more than 2 million registered worldwide. Scientists estimate, however, that including all species not yet researched the number could be about 16 million.
The entomology exhibition presents information about insects and insect life in various environments.
In the first hall, “Introduction to the world of insects”, the visitor sees how insects differ from “non-insects” such as spiders, ticks, crayfishes and myriapods, and is introduced to the various talents and skills found in the insect world – the biggest butterflies, the heaviest beetle, and beetle with the longest forelegs and others.
A separate display is devoted to information about eight of the most famous Latvian entomologists, who have made significant contributions to the field of entomology in Latvia. Among these eight are two museum employees, Lidija Danka and Mihails Stiprais, who have worked in the museum’s entomology department more than 40 years.
The second hall is devoted to insect development and is called “The body structure and systematic of insects”. There are displays of insects that develop by complete metamorphosis – beetles, butterflies, bees, flies and others. Among insects that develop by incomplete metamorphosis, dragonflies, grasshoppers, and cockroaches are presented.
A separate showcase is devoted to the butterflies and moths of Latvia, however, only a small part – 220 of 2500 – of the species are represented. The butterfly species not found in Latvia are shown in their appropriate geographic displays. Mirrors at the base of the showcases make it possible to view the coloration of the butterflies from all angles.
Latvia’s protected insects are on display as well along with various species of exotic insects, some of which were gathered more than 140 years ago.
In the hall “Insects at home” the museum visitor can view those insects that live on livestock and pets, agricultural crops and cultivated plants, and insects that live inside buildings, as well as insects that humans have tamed and learned to use for their own benefit.
In the hall “A natural living environment” the museum visitor can see insect environments that are more natural and less touched by humans: dunes, deciduous and coniferous forests, bogs, meadows and lakes. Each of these environments is inhabited by specific insect species that have adapted to that particular environment. A model of a pine tree with various “floors” displays insects that inhabit the pine.