Nigel - Volunteer Assistant Curator


Volunteer Assistant Curator Of Natural History

I started volunteering with the Natural History department 23 years ago, working on the entomology collections.

I then became a member of staff and having worked part-time at the museum for 4 years I now offer my services free of charge.

I am a member of Colchester Natural History Society and an experienced naturalist with interests in all aspects of the natural world but with a particular love of beetles (coleoptera).

I have been able to use these skills in my volunteering where I have worked mainly on the coleoptera collections.

I also support the identification and enquiry service where my years of experience are often called upon.


Abberton Weevil

I am a member of Colchester Natural History Society and an active naturalist. I spend a lot of my time looking for wildlife, particularly insects.

Over the years I have found one species new to Britain, several new to Essex and Suffolk and one species of weevil that was thought extinct for over 100 years.

This striking weevil Rhynchites auratus was found at Abberton reservoir near Colchester. The last previous sighting of this species in Britain was in 1839 in Kent.

West-Weal And Temple-Cox Collections

Temple-Cox and West-Weal collections before work was carried out
Temple-Cox and West Weal collections after work was carried out

These two coleoptera collections are a wonderful resource and between them have specimens of nearly every species of beetle found in Britain.

My project involves amalgamating the two collections and laying them out in taxonomic order in new drawers. As I go through the collections I clean each specimen and make any necessary repairs.

I am also checking the identifications and ensuring that any changes in taxonomy since the collections were made are reflected in the new layout.

This is a time-consuming job requiring high levels of concentration and a steady hand! I feel that it is worth the hard work when I see the specimens laid out neatly in their new drawers.

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