From 22 to 27 October, Hui Zhen was in England to collect historical specimen records of local stick insect species from two scientific institutions.
The first stop: Natural History Museum, London. Hui Zhen met curators Dr. Ben Price (Senior Curator in Charge, small orders) and Judith Marshall (retired Curator of Entomology) who gave her a comprehensive introduction to their collection. Hui Zhen had the great opportunity to access sizeable records from Singapore, with some dating back to the 1850s. Several specimens were collected by H. N. Ridley in the 1890s and early 1900s, and who was then Director of the Singapore Botanic Gardens. Hui Zhen also had the opportunity to speak to Dr. Blanca Huertas (Senior Curator, Lepidoptera) regarding the butterfly collection and discussed plans to incorporate the museum’s immense number of records into our lab’s ongoing Singapore extinctions project.
Next stop: Oxford University Museum of Natural History. An hour by train away from London, the Oxford Museum similarly holds a rich collection of Southeast-Asian insects. Ms. Amoret Spooner (Collections Manager) walked Hui Zhen through the collection and provided many helpful tips on navigating the collection. The collection at Oxford filled the information gaps in some of the rarer taxa.
In all, it was a rewarding and eye-opening trip to England.