NABOKV-L post 0018528, Tue, 18 Aug 2009 23:44:55 -0400

Vladimir N abokov’s c ollection of butterf ly genital ia ...

Wired NewsWired News

Behind the Scenes at Harvard's Museum of Natural History

By Brandon Keim
August 13, 2009

Among the treasures hidden from sight at Harvard’s Museum of Natural History are the world’s biggest egg, Stephen Jay Gould’s seashells and Vladimir Nabokov’s collection of butterfly genitalia.

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Extremely rare genetic mutations produce gynandromorphs like this morpho butterfly, which is male on the left side and female on the right. “Vladimir Nabokov worked in that museum for six years, and it’s said he would have become a well-known lepidopterist if he had not become a writer,” said Sloan. “He writes in his autobiography about finding a gynandromorph as a young boy, and then his nanny sat on it. He was very pleased that Harvard had one in its collection.”

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