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Among Dead Insects (Again)
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Although they’ve been dead for more than two centuries, there is life in these dragonflies. The life of a legendary biologist here in Copenhagen.
I’m working in the Zoologisk Museum at Kobenhavns Universitet with holotype specimens from the Danish zoologist Johan Christian Fabricius. It’s a bit like working with the specimens of Carl Linnaeus.
Mostly I came for one specimen in particular — she’s there at the lower left: Pantala flavescens (Wandering Glider), the most cosmopolitan insect on Earth (and in large part the subject of a book I’m writing). This is the very specimen, collected in India, that Fabricius used to name and describe this species to science more than two centuries ago. Or so we think. There’s a mystery here to solve.
I’d tell you more but Air France has lost my baggage — all my backpacking gear — putting the rest of this trip with Ruth (hiking in Norway) in jeopardy.