charles darwin in Hobart Town February 1836  


Darwin collected at least 119 species of insects around Hobart, 63 of which were previously unknown, including dung beetles, leaf beetles, ladybird beetles, weevils, ptinid beetles and parasitic wasps, together with a new water scavenger beetle, a new spider beetle and a new bee.

This specimen box contains insects known to have been collected by Darwin or some which are likely to have been seen or collected by him whilst in Hobart.

specimen box

jewel beetle

Cisseus sp. - Jewel Beetle

Specimen case showing insects known or likely to have been collected by Charles Darwin - Enlarge image
Diemenana sp. - Alpine Cicada

Dung Beetles   

'In Van Diemen’s Land, however I found four species of Onthophagus, two of Aphodius, and one of a third genus, very abundant under the dung of cows; yet these latter animals had been then introduced only thirty-three years. Previously to that time, the Kangaroo and some other small animals were the only quadrupeds; and their dung is of a very different quality from that of their successors introduced by man.'

dung beetle
  Onthophagus australis - Dung Beetle

Beetle Cartoon

Cartoon of Charles Darwin in his Cambridge days riding an enormous beetle, drawn by his friend Albert Way.  Darwin’s passion for beetle collecting developed early in life and inspired him to observe, collect and think about the living world.

Alfred Wallace at a ceremony to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the famous Darwin/Wallace paper when asked to explain:
‘Why did so many of the greatest intellects fail, while Darwin and myself hit upon the solution of this problem?’
Could only offer:
‘In early life both Darwin and myself became ardent beetle-hunters’.

darwin cartoon
Cartoon of Charles Darwin drawn by his friend Albert Way

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Last updated 20 April, 2010

thomas midwood 1854 - 1912 Hobart Tasmania