Calling all entomologists, future entomologists, and lovers of all things bugs! The museum is hosting Bug Festival 2023 on Saturday, January 28 and we want to see YOU here at VMNH! Admission rates apply.
What to See & Do!
Bug Festival 2023 features the museum's scientists and researchers showing-off a huge variety of preserved (not alive) specimens from the museum's entomology (insect) collections, most of which are rarely exhibited to the public! A list of preserved specimens is listed below!
Displays also include live insects (listed below), fossil insects from the museum's paleontology collections (some of which you can view under a microscope), as well as preserved herpetology specimens, including preserved specimens of Virginia reptiles and amphibians that feast on insects...yummy!
Not to be outdone, the museum's mammalogy team will show-off a variety of preserved specimens of their own, highlighting some of the mammals that feast on invertebrates!
For the brave and adventurous, Bug Festival 2023 will feature a "Bug Tasting Station", in which - well - the name should speak for itself!
The Dan River Basin Association (DRBA) will be on-hand during the event to exhibit its "Tub-O-Bugs", which features live macroinvertebrates - like stoneflies and crayfish - that visitors can see and touch! Additionally, DRBA will feature a handful of its own preserved specimens to show off!
Finally, Bug Festival 2023 also features bug-themed crafts and activities for children, balloon animals, face painting, and food trucks! Be sure to stop by the Museum Store for bug-themed items available for purchase!
Preserved Specimen Displays!
Neptune’s goblet sponge
Cliona patera; Family Clionaidae – clionaid demosponges
Giant sea spider
Order Pantopoda – sea spiders
Giant tailless whip scorpion
Charon grayi; Family Charontidae - tailless whip scorpions
Giant tropical centipede
Scolopendra sp.; Family Scolopendridae - centipedes
Giant tropical millipedes
Order Spirobolida - "round-backed" millipedes
Tagesoidea nigrofasciata; Family Lonchodidae – lonchodid walking sticks
Phasma gigas; Family Phasmatidae – walking sticks
Diapheromera femorata; Family Diapheromeridae- stick insects
Cryptophyllium westwoodii; Family Phylliidae- leaf insects
Tropical and temperate cicadas
Family Cicadidae- true cicadas
Megapomponia imperatoria; Family Cicadidae- true cicadas
Cathedra serrata; Family Fulgoridae – fulgorid planthoppers
Common bed bug
Cimex lectularius; Family Cimicidae- bed bugs
Family Acrididae – grasshoppers and locusts
Corydalus cornutus; Family Corydalidae – dobsonflies and fishflies
Mormolyce phyllodes; Family Carabidae – ground beetles
Tropical jewel beetle
Megaloxantha bicolor; Family Buprestidae – jewel beetles or metallic wood-boring
Tropical stag beetle
Odontolabis dalmani; Family Lucanidae – stag beetles
Goliathus sp.; Family Scarabaeidae - scarabs
Five-horned rhinoceros beetle
Eupatorus gracilicornis; Family Scarabaeidae; Subfamily Dynastinae – rhinoceros
Dynastes spp.; Family Scarabaeidae; Subfamily Dynastinae – rhinoceros beetles
Acrocinus longimanus; Family Cerambycidae – longhorn beetles
Tropical long-horned beetle
Petrognatha gigas; Family Cerambycidae
Titanus giganteus; Family Cerambycidae
Sabertooth longhorn beetle
Macrodontia cervicornis; Family Cerambycidae
Eupholus spp.; Family Curculionidae- weevils
Subfamily Danainae; Family Nymphalidae- brush-footed butterflies
Heliconius spp. Family Nymphalidae- brush-footed butterflies
Tribe Ithomiini; Family Nymphalidae- brush-footed butterflies
Family Papilionidae – swallowtail butterflies
Morpho spp.; Family Nymphalidae - brush-footed butterflies
Madagascar sunset moth
Chrysiridia rhipheus; Family Uraniidae – swallowtail moths
White witch moth
Thysania agrippina; Family Erebidae – erebid moths
Family Sphingidae- hummingbird moths
Attacus atlas; Family Saturniidae – silk moths
Megarhyssa spp. Family Ichneumonidae- ichneumonids
Dasymutilla occidentalis; Family Mutillidae- velvet ants
Vespa crabro; Family Vespidae- yellowjackets and hornets
Eastern cicada killer
Sphecius speciosus; Family Crabronidae- crabronid wasps
Red-footed cannibal fly
Promachus rufipes; Family Asilidae- robber flies
Live Specimen Displays!
Orthoporus spp.; Family Spirostreptidae – spirostreptid millipedes
Mastigoproctus giganteus; Family Thelyphonidae – whip scorpions
Tailless whip scorpion
Paraphrynus sp.; Family Phrynidae - tailless whip scorpions
Pandinus imperator; Family Scorpionidae- burrowing scorpions
Mexican redknee tarantula
Brachypelma hamorii; Family Theraphosidae – tarantulas
Mexican golden red rump tarantula
Brachypelma albiceps; Family Theraphosidae – tarantulas
Horrid king assassin
Psytalla horrida; Family Reduviidae- assassin bugs
In addition to all of the specimens on display, the event will feature a variety of bug-themed children's activities led by the museum's education team, as well as face painting and balloon animals!
Admission is only...
- $10/Ages 18-59
- $5/Ages 3-17
- $5/Seniors 60+
- FREE for children under 3
- FREE for VMNH Members
- FREE for members of ASTC Passport participating institutions
- FREE for EBT card holders who present their EBT card and official photo ID
- Free EBT card holder admission is made possible by The Institute of Museum and Library Services and Hooker Furnishings.
**Admission is available at the gate. Groupons are accepted. This is primarily an indoor event. Please note all displays, activities and offerings listed are subject to change. In the event of significant winter weather, this event may need to be postponed. If necessary, a tentative weather date of Saturday, February 4, 2023 is scheduled.**