Centennial Museum gecko logo

Desert Diary


This page was designed with CSS, and looks best in a CSS-aware browser—which, unfortunately, yours is not. However, the document should still be readable, though not presented in the most sophisticated manner.

A biologist friend of mine recently discovered, by sheer luck, a bizarre insect. While out in the desert, she heard a strange humming noise. Curious, she followed the sound, and there, crouched beneath a creosotebush, was the strangest bug she'd ever seen. Six inches long, pop-eyed, a virtual rainbow of colors, wasp-waisted with a fat abdomen curved forward over the body like that of a scorpion, there was no doubt. This was an animal utterly unknown to science.

Like any ambitious biologist, she captured the creature, wrote up a scientific description, and sent it off to be published. She called yesterday to tell me it would appear today in the Journal of Entomology. Now, I can't pronounce the scientific name, which is in Latin, of course, but she said she named it after the strange humming sound that drew her attention in the first place. Happily, she translated it into English for me so I could be the first to reveal it to the world on this April Fool's Day. And the translation? Humbug, of course!
pen and ink



Contributor: Arthur H. Harris, Laboratory for Environmental Biology, Centennial Museum, University of Texas at El Paso.

Desert Diary is a joint production of the Centennial Museum and KTEP National Public Radio at the University of Texas at El Paso.


A sketch made from life of the famous Humbug soon after its capture.