Butterflies and moths

We’re wrapping up work on the first books in our new Inside series, which–as you may know–I’m particularly excited about because one of the four debut titles in the series will be Aron’s book, Inside Human Body! This also means that I’m starting work on a new title for the series, Inside Butterflies and Moths. This one is a collaboration with the American Museum of Natural History; a lepidopterist and the manager of living exhibits at the museum will be authoring the book.
As I metnioned a while back, it’s been particularly fun working with the museum: every visit means a behind-the-scenes glimpse at the labyrinth of halls and collections that have been amassing since the museum’s founding in 1869.
My meeting with the author last week was no exception: she took me upstairs, beyond the floors open to the public and down corridors that are filled with steel cases–each filled with hundereds of moth or butterfly specimens. I was completely disorientated (once again), but she explained that we were in building 13 of the 19 buildings that make up the complex.
After our meeting, she invited me into her office to see her latest shipment of Chrysalis, which would eventually become butterflies–like the blue morpho or owl butterfly–that would be placed in the exhibit downstairs. The shiny chryaslis belonging to toxic species were particularly beautiful. I’m so looking forward to learning more as we work on this book together. (An aside: Aron’s book has already helped me on “Jeopardy”!)
On our way back out, she showed me another little exciting creature that was temporarily staying with them–a part of the just-closed Extreme Mammals exhibit–a sugar glider! There were six of these adorable little nocturnal marsupials, native to Australia. One, who she called Gabe, really charmed me with his huge, dark eyes.

(Photos: (top) from Christopher Marley, (third down) Ron Niebrugge, (fourth down) Debbie Hadley)

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