SAN JOSE, Costa Rica – A U.S. biologist has donated 4,000 insects he collected over 62 years to Costa Rica.
Richard Whitten has donated his collections of giant scorpions, tarantulas, grasshoppers, butterflies, beetles and other insects to the University of Costa Rica, where it is being exhibited this week.
Whitten, who has lived in Costa Rica for 16 years, said Friday he and his wife are moving back to the United States, where several universities wanted to house the insects.
Whitten says he decided to give the collection to the Costa Rican university because they promised to permanently exhibit it.
He says that leaving his collection behind "is like leaving my children."
Collection curator and biology professor Ricardo Murillo calls the collection "invaluable."
“Here we will find arthropods like giant scorpions, large tarantulas, giant lobsters, butterflies, beetles. Richard has tried to collect the most impressive of the group of terrestrial arthropods,” Murillo said.
The biologist affirms that this collection is the largest and most diverse found in Mesoamerica, which he hopes researchers in the area will appreciate. In fact, the exhibit was installed in a way that it is easily moveable so that it can be presented in other parts of the country and other Central American countries.
“We want to leave the collection in a place where the insects are well preserved, and the University of Costa Riva is very happy to exhibit it,” Whitten said.
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