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Insect Illustration

Chrysopa sp. (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae) by Thelma Heidel

Open December 1, 2012 - February 24, 2013

About the exhibit

With almost 1 million described species in an astounding array of sizes, colors, shapes and textures, insects are the most diverse group of organisms on Earth. Taxonomists use the complexity of insect morphology as the primary means of identification, but also for inferring evolutionary relationships. Accurate illustration of characters is critically important in describing insect diversity, especially of the 1000s of new species being discovered.

On display will be works from the past as well works by UMN prof. Ralph Holzenthal, with the highlight of the exhibit being a collection of pieces illustrated by Holzenthal's students over the years. A colorful and engaging exhibit, Insect Illustration will show visitors that not only do these works support important scientific research, they are also magnificent works of art.

II_Ralph_picAbout Illustrator Ralph Holzenthal

Ralph Holzenthal, professor of Entomology and director of the UMN Insect Collection, is an accomplished insect illustrator. When he started his research career, illustrations were done with pencil, pen and ink and watercolor. Today, Ralph has converted to digital media and periodically teaches a course for other scientists, students, artists and other interested people.

University of Minnesota Insect Collection


Attacus atlas
(Lepidoptera: Saturniidae)
by Amy Morey


Thyreus nitidulus
(Hymenoptera: Apidae)
by Joel Gardner


Tabanus lineola
(Diptera: Tabanidae, female (l), male (r))
 by Ralph Holzenthal