Essig’s SFO exhibition showcases six-legged frequent fliers

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Travelers beware: a swarm of six-legged frequent fliers will soon land at San Francisco International Airport.

The airport museum’s new “The Intriguing World of Insects” exhibition, opening tomorrow in the pre-security area of the International Terminal, will feature specimens, sculptures and models of some of Earth’s most stunning creepy crawlies, from butterflies and moths to cockroaches and beetles. Most of the exhibits are on loan from UC Berkeley’s Essig Museum of Entomology.

The exhibition, which runs April 27 to August 18, will give insect fans a rare glimpse into the Essig’s collection of over five million objects, including termites trapped in amber, Egyptian scarabs dating to 1500 B.C., and wood pieces patterned by hungry termites. The exhibition also features photographs by David Garnick and sculptures by Gar Waterman.

Pete Oboyski, curator of the Essig Museum, says one of his favorite items is a foot-long model of a cockchafer beetle, created by a French physician in 1881, which splits open to reveal anatomically accurate organs.

“We hope people see just how amazingly beautiful and intricate insects are,” Oboyski said. “Once you get to see them up close, they are not as scary as we thought they were – or maybe they are even more so.”