The Color of Love


We got a new box of insect specimens. It counts as a Valentine’s week gift to ourselves and the business. We needed some to fly to LA this past weekend for a bit of filming and  I need them to teach at NSTA at the end of March so it was  a perfect excuse to treat ourselves. We were in a pinch so we called our friends at Paxton Gate here in Portland to see if they had any in stock and they did! They run insect pinning workshops and had a few left over.

I’ll be exploring each of them under the scope for the next couple of weeks as I focus more on morphology (see Wings: Parts One & Two), but for this week I was inspired by the lovely colors and the silly holiday. Valentines Day is painted in glossy pinks, reds, purples and oranges, so I hunted around on the insects to find those colors to present to you. By the time you read this, it will be President’s day so I threw in a Red, White and Blue beetle just for fun.


Let’s start with this fabulous bright spot of pink from the hindwing of a swallowtail butterfly. This is love that shouts from the rooftops! We want to wear it as eyeshadow and glam up The Bug Chicks a little bit. (Just for a day)


How about bold orangey-red? This velvet ant reminds us that love, while bright and beautiful, can be a little painful. These wingless wasps are notorious in the south for their sting. Sometimes love doesn’t feel like it should…

There’s always room for a shy blush. It’s nervous, innocent first love on the hind wing of this white-lined sphinx moth. Wasn’t there some song about butterfly kisses? That dude was singing about this color.

There’s nothing shy about this beetle’s pronotum. It’s purple and shiny and unapologetic. This love wants you to be happy, dancing in the rain. It wants to disco with you. (Cool note about this beetle? It’s the red,white and blue beetle from below. Since the elytra color is structural, it changes depending on the angle of the light! I could photograph this beetle a hundred times and it would always look different.)

Sometimes love is hard to find. You have to search for it. But when you find it, you can’t imagine life without it. This ground beetle’s little stripe of purple is the same. Once you see it, you can’t stop looking at it.


This buprestid beetle is read, white and blue. At first glance it’s kind of ugly, but as you look at it in the light , the blue reveals itself. And the red!! It’s like Dorothy’s ruby slippers! Hey- it’s a red, white & bluprestid!!!

Happy Valentine’s/President’s Day!

(All Celestron photos were taken with the FlipView, a great little handheld digital scope with an LCD screen.)