Hundreds of new and unusual insects discovered in the Amazon’s canopy

Most entomologists study life on the ground. Instead, these scientists looked up—and found a staggering diversity of new creatures.

Iridescent orchid bees, tropical cousins of bumblebees and honeybees, were among the multitude of insects that entomologists collected at an observation tower in Brazil.

On a balmy January morning in Manaus, a Brazilian port city surrounded by rainforest, a group of entomologists and I scattered into a supermarket to stock up for an expedition. 

Twenty minutes later, in the checkout line, it became clear that we had different ideas about what that meant.

I had peanuts, raisins, and bug repellent; the entomologists, all of whom were dipterists, or fly specialists, had heaps of bruised produce, nearly expired trays of chicken, and bits of peacock bass wrapped in cellophane. 

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