Unidentifiable Insect Appears at London's Natural History Museum


Have a fancy for identifying bugs? Maybe you can help the experts classify an otherwise baffling bug that first appeared on the grounds of London’s Natural History Museum last March.

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The small red and black insect showed up in the museum’s wildlife garden, and has since become the most common insect in the garden. It has also been spotted in nearby areas. And although it appears to be harmless, some wonder whether it will spread throughout the U.K.

Scientists at Prague’s National Museum found an exact match to the mystery insect.

The museum staff has tried unsuccessfully to identify the insect, despite having more than 28 million insect specimens in their collection. BBC News reports that the bug “closely resembles” the rare species Arocatus roeselii from central Europe. However, that species is brighter red than the unidentified insect and usually resides around alder trees.

In a surprising twist, scientists at Prague’s National Museum found an exact match to the mystery insect—but they can’t identify what the bug is, either!

Max Barclay of London’s museum explained humorously, “It’s not unusual to find something in the middle of a tropical rainforest. But when you’re eating your sandwiches on the lawn you don’t expect to find something that takes you by surprise.”

The mysterious bug is an interesting reminder of a few things. First, we remember how incredible God’s created world is, teeming with life of all kinds. Second, it reminds us that there are still many creatures out there to be discovered, most of them small, but perhaps some larger ones as well. Finally, this bug could be a product of recent, rapid speciation—a “new” bug, that is, not because of evolution, but because of some of God’s built-in variation allowing the population to adapt to a new environment.

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