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Under Glass

An assortment of specimens from entomologist and conservation biologist, Kevin Clarke.
Beetles from one of Kevin’s oldest collections.
Kevin’s studio space adjoins his house in Petaluma, CA.
To preserve these frog beetles (part of the Sagra genus), Kevin carefully places them in hot water for fifteen minutes to relax, before pinning them into the formation he wants and letting them dry in place for five days — from there, they’re ready to be framed.
A collection of ants from Northern California occupy an old case of Kevin’s from the California Academy of Sciences.
The Best Made Collector’s Cabinet sits neatly in Kevin’s studio.
The first collection Kevin ever caught, dried, and assembled himself — he collected these insects on a week-long trip to the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, which sparked his love of understanding creatures and their local habitats.
A box of lanternflies (related to assassin bugs and stink bugs), which are becoming an invasive species in the northeast.
Preserving anything like lanternflies or moths involves putting them in a “relaxation chamber” — in Kevin’s case, a Tupperware container with a wet, warm towel that creates a humid environment — for three days. From there, he can pin and spread them to dry.
Kevin heads out to explore Petaluma’s parks in pursuit of butterflies, moths, and bees. Usually, he’ll release them — the process is more about assessing the fluctuating local populations after events like wildfires than expanding his collection.
A small cabbage white butterfly (Pieris Rapae) curls its proboscis, the mechanism that allows them to sip nectar — and something rarely seen extended like this.
A bee captured in one of Petaluma’s parks is set free after a brief examination.
When he’s not in his studio or out in the field, Kevin is beekeeping — he’s a backyard apiarist. He started his hives three years ago as an activity to learn more about bees with his children, and harvest the honey for his family.
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May 2019

Photography by Bryan Derballa

Conservation biologist Kevin Clarke left a career in finance to volunteer with an entomologist at the California Academy
of Sciences, rekindling a lifelong love of insects. Kevin is driven by the sense of instant discovery, the fact that you can head
outside and flip over a stone and find something new. His extensive personal collection (which he frames and sells through his
business, Bug Under Glass) is a mix of specimens from around the world and his own backyard in Petaluma, CA. He’s relentlessly
committed to preserving insect species by marrying art and science and immersing himself in the world around him. Kevin’s
ultimate goal? To protect the natural world and create a sense of wonder around it.