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Collecting insects has been a great weekend hobby that our family has enjoyed for many years. It has given us a chance to get out into creation and have some great family time together in the jungle. The boys and I are the ones often searching for bugs while Libby likes to take pictures and sketch various insects and plants. We started our collection in 2008 with butterflies. At that time we were living in a hamlet at about 5000 feet in elevation on the side of a lush and beautiful mountain. (We have since moved up to the top of the mountain at around 7000 feet to build an airstrip.)
Every day the butterflies would come out with the tropical sun, and we quickly learned the different characteristics and habitats of the different types of butterflies. For example, the Papilionidids are strong flyers and would waft across the open air between the trees and pathways through the jungle. The Hysperidids were low to the ground, usually sunning themselves on the leaves of the secondary growth garden areas. The Pieridids would always be next to the river that flowed by our house, zooming low, or swirling up toward the jungle canopy. The Lycaenids would congregate around small puddles and streams, and the Nymphalids could be found in the gardens and deep jungle.
As our butterfly collection grew, so did our interests in other insects. We started to collect moths, beetles, phasmids, grasshoppers, damselflies, and dragonflies. Soon we had a massive collection and had to figure out what to do with it. This led us to contact scientists working with fauna in our area. Through relationships with those scientists, we have now many hundreds of our insects stored in museums around the world, and we have made discoveries new to scientific discovery! We have collected about 15 new species of beetles and moths and even have one named after our family.
We think collecting insects has been really valuable for three reasons. The first is that it has given us an outlet from the stress of ministry. It is a productive hobby that allows our family to interact and have fun out in God’s amazing creation. The second reason we think collecting has been valuable is that it has given us an open door to interact with scientists. We have made many dear friends and have had opportunities to discuss our views on creation, evolution, and the gospel. The third reason is that we feel it is good to have intelligent input from Christian naturalists. As a good friend said, “After all, Adam was the first taxonomist.” This is very true! Adam was the first one to name the kinds of animals, and how fitting for Christians today to continue on and have a part in appreciating, describing, and naming new species for God’s glory!
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