Good Reading : March 2008
Only the male Atlas beetle grows to this enormous size (up to 14 cen - timetres) and has the pronounced horns, used for fighting other males during breeding seasons. The name is a reference to their enormous strength. This specimen was collected before 1820. This longicorn beetle was collected at Mount Kosciusko in 1924 by AJ Nicholson. It is one of a number of insects that uses mimicry — by borrowing the predatory or protective guise of another insect as its disguise, it is able to avoid predators. In this case the beetle uses the colourings and behaviour of a wasp to avoid danger. MARCH 2008 ı goodreading 47 coffee table Museum: the Macleays, their collections and the search for order by Robyn Stacey and Ashley Hay is published by Cambridge University Press, rrp $79.95. All photographs and captions reproduced with the permission of the publisher. This short-tailed spotted cuscus is the only animal William John Macleay personally acquired; it was collected during the expedition of the Chevert to New Guinea in 1875. The unusual green coloration is a consequence of the preservation method used in the nineteenth century, when the skin was rubbed with a toxic soap made from arsenic or cyanide. The high concentra - tion of arsenic has, in this case, changed the colour of the cuscus’s normally white and brown coat. The kakapo, the world’s largest and only flightless parrot, is a critically endangered species. In the late 1800s thousands were captured or killed for zoos, museums or collec - tors. This specimen is one of 20 held in the Macleay Museum collections. Fewer than 100 live individuals existed in New Zealand in 2006.