Science  02 Jun 2006:
Vol. 312, Issue 5778, pp. 1287c
DOI: 10.1126/science.312.5778.1287c

Bugs are booming, judging by a sprawling bazaar held last weekend at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and attended by 10,000 people—more than half of them children—and millions of insects and arachnids.

One of the stars was this gynandromorph Ornithoptera priamus poseidon that has a female shape but the coloration and patterning of both sexes. Found in a batch of farmed New Guinea butterflies, it's priced at a startling $15,000.

The museum's annual Bug Fair is both an educational event and an outlet for commercial insect farms, dozens of which have sprung up in tropical areas from Costa Rica to Papua New Guinea. Other attractions included two bug chefs, who offered dubious treats such as tempura-battered dragonflies and pesto-drizzled tarantulas.

“If more scientists would go to a bug fair,” says neurobiologist Ronald Hoy of Cornell University, “it would change the way they read the [biology] literature. You can't help but be inspired by seeing nature up close and personal.”

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