Mass migration successfully completed

16 October 2023 | News

Like a scene from the Serengeti Plains, a mass migration of wildlife took place at Lincoln University recently.

Around a quarter of a million animals, including elephants, giraffes and lions, were on the move. No, it was not an Attenborough epic, but the transfer of the Lincoln University Entomology Research Collection’s 1,300-plus drawers of pinned insects from the Burns Building to their new home in the recently-completed campus science facility, Waimarie.

Not all was as it seemed – the elephants and giraffes were those of the weevil kind, and the lions were in fact ant-lions (a type of predatory lacewing).

Instead of having to cross the dangerous Mara River, with crocodiles snapping at them, these insects were gently transported in specially padded cages fewer than one hundred metres to Waimarie.

The migration was successfully navigated over two days and the drawers were installed with all their six-legged inhabitants safely intact.

Curator John Marris said around 10,000 insect specimens were transferred from bulk storage boxes into specimen drawers in preparation for the move.

“The painstaking project has made a greater range of specimens accessible and available for research use. The transfer work was funded by a grant from the Brian Mason Scientific and Technical Trust, and we are very grateful for the support.”

The Trust supports scientific and technical projects from the Canterbury and Westland regions.

The Lincoln University Entomology Research Collection is one of the largest of its kind in the country and the only one based at a university. The collection is used by Lincoln staff and students, and visiting researchers, as an identification reference library and a resource for biodiversity research.

PHOTO: Lincoln University Entomology Research Collection Curator John Marris in the collection's new home.