Insect menagerie Jardin des Plantes - bee (elbow antennae) on purple flowers
Exhibitions,  Life in Paris & France,  Photos

Animal, Insect Menageries and Blooms-Jardin des Plantes

Insect menagerie Jardin des Plantes - bee (elbow antennae) on purple flowersIt’s time to celebrate the two hundred and twenty years of the Paris historical zoo at the National Museum of Natural History’s (Muséum national d’histoire naturelle) in the Jardin des Plantes. An exhibit opened at the Cabinet d’Histoire for celebrated animals (Animaux célèbres de la Ménagerie) who lived in the historical menagerie from 1794 to today. The showcases are filled with mementos from those early days: postcards, illustrations, souvenir plates, books, illustrations, models, and other paraphernalia from the past. Many of the animals referred to are now found in the Grande Galerie de l’Évolution. The Poster in the metro for 220 years of "le zoo historique de Paris" at Jardin des Plantesexplanations are in French provide so much history, that the print is small, hard to read and placed at a distance. Bring binoculars to read. The exhibit is on until January 5, 2015. (The more exciting scenery was in the garden [see photos below]).

In 1740, the first live animal to arrived in Paris, Jocko an orangutan. At the beginning of the exhibit is a boxed representation of the celebrated giraffe, Zarafa. Zarafa arrived in 1827 from Africa; a gift from the viceroy of Egypt to Charles X.

Jardin des Plantes - bee in pink flowers - or is it a bee mimic?After the quick visit, I ventured into the insect menagerie of the Jardin des Plantes. The variety of plants that lead up the Grande Galerie de l’Évolution was in full bloom the end of September in Paris 2014. It’s the end of some season. September is what August could have been like.

Looking for the insects on the flowers, some flies resembled bees and some bees looked like they were planes refueling in mid flight.

The flies are bee mimics. and the bee is sticking its tongue into the stigma of the flower.

“Two simple ways to tell a fly mimic from a bee. First, look at the wings: bees have four wings, but flies have two wings. Second, look at the antennae: bees have elbowed antennae, while many flies have short, stubby, or hair-thin antennae. Bee mimics are, simply put, other insects that resemble bees. This is called Batesian mimicry.”– Bee Spotter

Bees, I discovered, have tongues that are proportional to body size! — Ecology Society of America. Enjoy the garden with me ….


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This Web site and and its blog articles are for travelers to Paris who are looking for advice from someone who lives in Paris. These tips are "for Parisians at heart". Many people would like to visit, some can and some cannot - so I will help you enjoy a glimpse of the city and its surroundings. This project has been ongoing since 2002. Prior to living in Paris (since 1992) my European history began in the early 70s with three years in Wiesbaden, Germany. My next foray onto the Continent was in the mid-80s after graduation from the University of Florida (where I met Erik): traveling around Europe and UK with my friend, Margie, hitchhiking around and working in Ireland. After living and working as a journalist in Sweden for four years, traveling on boats, the Trans-Siberian Railway, local trains and planes took Erik and I around the world. I began working as a flight attendant in 1990 for American Airlines, based in Chicago. We moved to Paris, France in 1992 where I commuted between Paris and Chicago for my flight attendant/stewardess job. Finally my inner voice said "Stop!" and I left American Airlines six weeks shy of 20 years January 1, 2010. Now that is over and I am back working as a journalist and photographer full time on - My videos are posted on YouTube on the colleensparis youtube channel. and I am active in Toastmasters 75. Enjoy!