Entomologist and Educator

Entomologist Nathan Erwin sitting on a boat in a river holding in his hand a rhinoceros beetle. Water and trees behind him.
Nathan Erwin nose to nose with a rhinoceros beetle (Megasoma acteon) in Amazonia, Peru. Image courtesy of Cheryl Leichter.

Mr. Nathan Erwin is an entomologist who Managed the Insect Zoo and Butterfly Pavilion during his 20 years at the Museum. While attending the University of Delaware he was able to learn insect culturing techniques by working in research labs, conduct field research and publish the results about a newly rediscovered European corn borer parasitoid, and learn the basics of insect photography all of which continue to help him explore the world around him. After his time as a Delaware Blue Hen, he worked as a forest pest entomologist with the Maryland Department of Agriculture, working on gypsy moth population problems. Using his academic training and gypsy moth experience, he brought A Basic Guide to Pesticides to publication as a staff scientist for the Rachel Carson Council.

In 1992, Nathan began work in the Insect Zoo as the museum was beginning its renovation of the Insect Zoo. In addition to caring for the 65+ live arthropod species, he created activities for teachers, encouraging them to use live insects and an interdisciplinary approach to science in their classrooms; some are the basis for Q?rius activities. He served on the exhibit development team for the Butterfly Pavilion. Regularly representing the museum on radio and television, he appeared on NPR’s All Things Considered, CBS’s Late Show with David Letterman, consulting on the scripts for the IMAX Bugs! and Flight of the Butterflies movies. His fieldwork throughout the Americas, led him to work specifically on helping tropical butterfly farmers learn to raise other insects in addition to butterflies. These insects now appear in museums and zoos around the world. Nathan continues to explore and learn more about insects and plants.