Jesuit students, hardened by a required freshman entymology project, aren’t afraid. It doesn’t hurt, of course, that the bugs are pinned in rows in glass cases, meticulously preserved from decay. The collection, more than 2,300 bugs in all, is on display through tomorrow. The display’s curator, Oliver Greer, points to a two-foot wide Peruvian whip spider.
“The irony is, I’m horribly arachnophobic,” Greer explains. “It is my biggest fear. But my fear compels me to collect them. I could not have a complete collection with out them.”
It makes since that the first insect in his collection is the arachnid’s arch-enemy, a quarter-sized wasp that paralyzes spiders with its sting, then lays its eggs under the spider’s skin. He found the insect near his California home 33 years ago as a 10 year old, and it still has a place in his collection, amidst hundreds more wasps he has collected over the years.
So what’s the appeal?
“Part of it’s the size factor. Part of it’s the biodiversity factory,” Greer said. “And part of it’s the creepiness factor.”