Objects of Wonder: Coleoptera

Chip Clark / Smithsonian Institution
March 9, 2017
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Arrangement of iridescent insects
Chip Clark / Smithsonian Institution


Insects are the dominant form of animal life on Earth with more than 1 million described species and possibly as many as 15 times more remaining unknown and waiting to be discovered. Among insects, beetles have proven to be one of the most successful groups, representing 40% of all insect species and 30% of all animal species. To put that into perspective, if all animal species were laid out side-by-side, every fourth animal species would be a beetle. “Objects of Wonder” will examine not only the diversity of beetles like those shown above but also other insects, visually demonstrating the relative diversity between the different groups of insects and comparing them to other animals.

Photo by Chip Clark / Smithsonian Institution