We opened the glass yesterday in the bog diorama and put a plank down into the sphagnum moss. I have been wanting to get in to make this diorama look more alive and now with the glass front open, I have started by removing all the pitcher plants. These will be repainted in brighter colors. Eunice Palffy-Muhoray has already started on some of them, ones we were able to remove last month from a side door with limited access.
The pitcher plants are 100% the real thing, dried and painted. When the diorama was initially constructed, the paint was applied with an air brush. Those colors were dark maroon and a muted green that don’t look like the living pitcher plants I saw recently, which had bright colors and highly contrasting veins.
I also removed the flowers that will need their colors pumped up. The flowers are dried real flowers, but the stems are made from painted steel wire. Like the pitcher plants, the colors are too muted and the living stems transit from a light lime green to a dark maroon near the flower head.
One of the pitcher plants has a plexi insert that usually has a housefly glued onto it. The housefly specimen is an actual fly and it usually lasts about one year before other insects in the diorama (yes, there are living insects in the dioramas!) get to it and eat it. I want to put in a model of a housefly to circumvent this problem. I found these blowflies on the internet created by Grahm Owen as props for the TV show, Breaking Bad:
I’ve asked our entomology collections manager, Ray Pupedis to try his hand at tying one or two. Ray, in addition to his insect expertise, is an accomplished fly fisherman, fly tier, and bamboo rod maker. Of course, as an entomologist, he wants to know the genus and species of flies that might get caught in pitcher plants. Just creating a generic fly is not in the cards. Ray is researching the fly now. Stay tuned for another blog post about his work on the bog fly.