Lantern Bug

On wet sandSide pinnedWings pinned
While Maria Sybilla Merian was in Surinam, South America, she  was given some of these insects in a box.  They are so unusual looking, I just had to see a real one.  Since I haven't managed to get to Surinam and the rainforest there, I bought a Lantern bug ( scientifically known as Fulgora lanternaria ) from the internet!  Then I had to learn how to go about mounting it.  Thomas J Riley, entomologist and photographer, emailed me detailed instructions; and David E. Bowles, entomologist and Professor of Biology, gave me some mounting pins to use; both were very much appreciated!
Since it came as shown in the first picture, it had to be "relaxed" first.  I slit the plastic it came wrapped in to allow moisture in.  Then I placed it in a plastic contained partially filled with wet sand.  On top of that I placed a piece of matboard cut to fit the container.  On went the lid, sealing the bug inside with all that moisture.  And I waited…and waited…and waited.  On the fourth day I took the bug out and carefully took off the plastic it had been shipped in.  I lightly touched the wingtip; it was slightly flexible.  I put it back and closed the lid.  The next day I tried again.  Again I was afraid the bug wasn't damp enough to spread its wings.
Day six.  I did it!  I discovered that the groove I made in the piece of styrofoam was a bit too large there in the middle, so I scooted the bug up.  His peanut shaped protuberance in front of his eyes sticks out over the edge of the styrofoam.  It was actually easy to gently pull the wings into position, place the strips of paper over the wings to hold them down, and pin through the paper to hold the wings in position.
Now I wait some more.  After this unusual bug dries out again, I will mount it in a display case.  I'm ready!  In fact, I'd like to do another one!

One thought on “Lantern Bug

  1. [this is good] Way to go, Nancy.  This will be perfect for when you go to bookstores and schools to plug your book.  This blog is a GREAT idea for a book of this kind.  Good job.

Leave a Reply