Permanent Exhibition » Virtual Insect Hall



  • Close up: Phasme - Wandelende tak - Stick Insect (Vivarium)
  • Close up: Bee - Abeille - Bij
  • Maquette/Model: Fly - Mouche - Vlieg

Virtual Insect Hall

The Insect and Shell halls permanently closed their doors on 18 April 2017. You can still take a virtual look inside the halls thanks to Google Street View (click on the yellow guy down on the right, then select the third floor in the upper banner). You can also get in with Google Maps (drag the yellow guy onto the Institute, then select the third floor in the column on the right).

The Insect Hall is actually dedicated to all arthropods. As well as insects, it therefore includes crustaceans (such as crabs, prawns, and lobsters), chelicerates (such as spiders, scorpions, and acarines), and myriapods (such as millipedes and centipedes).

Did you know that arthropods make up nearly 80 % of known animal species? And entomologists are discovering new ones every day. There should be a whole museum devoted to them!

In this hall, you can study the anatomy of various different arthropods thanks to the giant reproductions of flies, amphipods, and scorpions. You can also marvel at the camouflage of click beetles, stick insects, and hawk moths, and at the variety of sizes, shapes, and colours of beetles, butterflies, and crabs. The bravest among you can even observe live tarantulas up close!

Remarkable Elements

The Butterfly Display Case
  • A totally transparent display case

Unlike traditional insect display cases, our butterfly display case has been designed in such a way that visitors can admire the undersides as well as the upper sides of the butterflies’ wings. You can therefore see the occasionally drastic differences between the two sides. Colours range from the drab to the vivid and from the matt to the iridescent, or even translucent, while patterns include everything from lines, bands, and eyespots to blurred shapes.

The butterflies and moths in the display case are also arranged by ecozone (Nearctic, Neotropic, Indomalaya, Australasian, Palaearctic, and Afrotropic).

Take a tour of the display case and marvel at the iridescent blues of the morpho butterflies, at the Atlas moth or the Death’s-head Hawkmoth.

Educational Beehive
  • The educational beehive

The Museum has its very own beehive in the Insects Hall! If you’re lucky, you might see the queen – she has a coloured dot on her back.

You might even witness the famous bee “dance”. When a bee finds food source, she tells the other bees about it by “dancing”. The other bees follow her by touching her with their antennae. A circular dance means that the food is less than 100 m away. A figure-of-eight dance means it’s further away. The slower the dance; the further away the food. The dance also shows the direction of the food in relation to the sun.

Japanese Spider Crab
  • The Japanese spider crab Macrocheira kaempferi

The Japanese spider crab (Macrocheira kaempferi) is the largest living arthropod and has ten very long legs. The eldest specimens, which can be up to a century old, can measure up to 4 m across! Although ours is very large, it was not as old as this.

Like many other crab species, it mainly feeds on dead animals, although it has been known to kill and eat other crustaceans.

The Vivarium
  • The Mexican red-kneed tarantula, ‘Brachypelmasmithi smithi’

This is the place to go if you want to see live cockroaches, stick insects, scorpions, and tarantulas! Don't worry; there are two layers of glass between you and the occupants of the various terrariums.

Please try to make as little noise as possible: sound vibrations disturb them, and too much noise could make them hide away in a corner where you will not be able to see them.

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