For one Philadelphia scientist, grasshoppers and beetles are more than objects of research: they are works of art. In an exhibit opening Saturday, Aug. 6, scientist Dan Otte has turned his study specimens into beautiful scientific illustrations.
Dual Nature: Science Illustrations of Dan Otte features original insect drawings and paintings by Otte, senior curator of entomology at the Academy of Natural Sciences
, where the exhibit will be shown through Dec. 4. Otte uses colored pencil, graphite, ink, and watercolors to capture in exquisite detail the intricacies of grasshoppers, beetles, crickets and weevils. He also is a pioneer in recording and interpreting sound-producing insects. The Academy owns one of the largest collections of insect songs, and visitors will hear some of these in the exhibit.
Otte (OT-ee) has travelled the world for more than 40 years to study and collect insects. He is a world expert on grasshoppers and crickets and has described more than 1,500 new insect species. His 300 scientific articles and 18 books include thousands of illustrations that are invaluable to the study of insects.
Only color drawings can give scientists all the information they need to study, compare and name insects, said Otte. When insect specimens are dried, sometimes their legs curl up or their colors fade. A detailed illustration works to bring the specimen to life. Dual Nature: Science Illustrations of Dan Otte is free with museum admission and is part of the Academys Art of Science exhibition series.