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Ben here with today's #BenInNature update!

November 24, 2020

Ben here with today's #BenInNature update! This is Haemorhous purpureus, better known as the purple finch! Upon seeing this photo, you're probably thinking, "Well, it doesn't look all that purple to me." That's because this particular purple finch is a female! Like many birds, the males tend to be brightly colored while the females have duller coloration. I'll share a photo of a male purple finch as soon as I snap a good one! During the breeding season, purple finches are generally found in Canada, although there are a few stretches along the west coast of the U.S. and in the northern part of the U.S. where they can be found year-round. In southwest Virginia, purple finches are migratory birds that visit us in the late ...

Assistant Curator of Paleontology Dr

November 24, 2020

Assistant Curator of Paleontology Dr. Adam Pritchard is back inside the paleo collections to put the spotlight on fossil sawfish in this latest episode of "Tales of Ancient Life"!

It's time for the Monday edition of ...

November 23, 2020

It's time for the Monday edition of #BenInNature! Fall is here and winter is fast approaching, which sadly means that my beloved insects are going to be few and far between for the next few months. Fortunately, I still have a few in my backlog, such as Cercyonis pegala, the common wood-nymph! Also referred to as the blue-eyed greyling and the goggle-eye, this butterfly belongs to the family Nymphalidae, the largest butterfly family, with more than 6,000 species worldwide. These butterflies can be found throughout most of the U.S. and into southern Canada. They're commonly found at the edges of forests and in fields and meadows, and they're usually on the wing from mid-May through October in Virginia. While many butterflies ...

In this episode of "Museum Minute" ...

November 23, 2020

In this episode of "Museum Minute", VMNH Educator Terri Robertson highlights the museum's resident Red-eared slider, Speedy, which can be found inside the museum's Suzanne M. Lacy Education Center!

We're reaching into the archives for today's ...

November 22, 2020

We're reaching into the archives for today's #BenInNature update! The following post was originally published on April 17, 2020. With its brilliant purple elytra (the shell that covers the flight wings), this beetle almost looks like something you'd find in the tropics, but you can find them right out in the woods in southwest Virginia! According to Virginia Museum of Natural History Research Associate and Professional Beetle Expert Curt Harden, this fellow is Dicaelus purpuratus. It's active from the spring through the fall, and it likes to hide in leaf litter and under logs. These beetles are snail-eaters, and it's probably no coincidence that on the same day I found two of these beetles, I found a couple of empty snail ...

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