“All the efforts of the human mind cannot exhaust the essence of a single fly.”

Since my traineeship is technically over, I am wrapping up the Thomas Algernon Chapman project I’ve written quite a lot about (here, here and here).

There is still plenty of work to be done on this and I hope to continue in some way. The last trip I was able take was back to the NHM last month. I went to see Nigel Wyatt, one of the diptera curators, because in addition to lepidoptera and coleoptera, Chapman did a lot of work with diptera. He was fascinated by parasitism in many different groups and so was drawn to the Tachinidae.

I was simply looking to see more specimens that he either described or collected. In many cases he reared insects at home and sent those specimens he wasn’t working himself to researchers or collectors. It’s very difficult to determine which is which. This was the case at the NHM. Nigel showed me a lot of different specimens with Chapman’s name on them. It is unclear in which capacity Chapman was involved (collector, breeder, researcher, all three). One of the specimens I was shown had a label handwritten by Chapman; the others were all typed and presumably weren’t necessarily collected or worked on by him.

I have added these ‘findings’ to my project and attempted to find some context. This project is available online and I will publish the preliminary version on my blog shortly.

In the meantime, here are some images I took at the NHM (© NHM, London):

4 thoughts on ““All the efforts of the human mind cannot exhaust the essence of a single fly.”

  1. You actually make it seem so easy with your presentation but I find
    this topic to be really something that I think I would never understand.
    It seems too complex and extremely broad for me. I am looking forward for
    your next post, I’ll try to get the hang of it!

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