Insect Relativity

Dr. Leonard Munstermann and Dr. Ray Pupedis are the entomolgists at the Peabody Museum working with me on the insect models.  Leonard is the curator in charge of the Parasitic Insect exhibit and wants to include the Culex pipiens mosquito and the Ixodes scapularis, deer tick models I made from the 2009 exhibit, Solving the Puzzle.  He thinks that all the models should give the viewer a general idea of their size relative to each other…so Ray went to work to get sizes of the actual insects.  here is what he found:

Head louse: 2 to 3 mm in length

Crab louse: 1 – 2mm, or 1.5 – 2mm

Bed bug: length = 5.5 – 7mm or 4-5 mm; width = 2.5-3mm, or 1.5-3mm

Cat flea: 1.5 – 4mm, or 1-3mm

C. pipiens (Mosquito): 5 mm or 3-7 mm

I. scapularis (deer tick): 1-3mm

These sizes were not easy to nail down! Ray

Nor is it easy to decide on how big to make the model, but in general, the mosquito and bedbug are in the same range and the head louse and the deer tick are similar. The first step is to draw the insects to scale.  The previously made mosquito model is 28″ long with legs.  The body is only 14″, so I decided to take a bit of liberty and make the bedbug body larger because with its shorter legs, it will look smaller next to the long-legged mosquito.  I drew the head louse body to the same length as the deer tick body (approx. 17″).  Their legs are comparable so their sizes should look similar.

Head Louse drawing-No Legs


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