Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Insect Circus Museum

Yet again, I've missed the Insect Circus.

The Insect Circus Museum was at Victoria Park over the weekend and because there was a queue and I needed to be somewhere else quickly, I did not have a chance to see this excellent exhibit. May be next time?

So you don't make my mistake, you can check their schedule the Insect Circus Museum website or say hello to Insect Circus Musuum at Myspace.

Monday, 28 May 2007

Red Hook Waterfront Arts Festival

The Acme Flea Circus will be performing SATURDAY JUNE 2 at 12:30 pm as part of the Red Hook Waterfront Arts Festival Brooklyn, NY, USA

The fleas will be at the Waterfront Museum & ShowBoat Barge.

For more details contact:
Professor A.G.Gertsacov
Flea Trainer and Psycho-Entomologist
Proprietor, Acme Miniature Circus

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Bat Fleas - Siphonaptera Ischnopsyllidae

The bat flea could make a good flea circus performer with a different act, it likes to climb as is used to crawling up cave walls to locate bats roosting on the cave ceiling.

It is yellowish-brown in color and the males grow to 2.4 mm, and females 2.5 mm. Which in flea terms is quite large. The head, thorax, abdomen, and legs are exceptionally long and slender.

However it could be difficult to capture and feed as unlike some other fleas, bat fleas do not feed on other hosts. Female bats normally have more fleas than the males due to the additional time they spend roosting in caves and building. The larvae, pupae and sometimes adults of these fleas live in the guano that accumulates below roosts of these bats.

Please note that it is illegal to handle bats in the UK without a license.

Journal of Parasitology: Ectoparasitic Insects of Bats in British Columbia, Canada
Notes on the Bat Flea, Z Rodríguez, EC Moreira, PM Linardi, HA Santos

Monday, 14 May 2007

Bugs invade the Natural History Museum?

One of the places that's been really helpful with my Flea Circus research is London's Natural History museum's Entomology department both in their detailed information on their website and also in email responses to my enquiries. The Natural History Museum is a great place to visit for both kids and adults alike and ideal for the wet weekends that we are getting at the moment.

Tomorrow they are opening up their Entomology Laboratory to talk about their detective work and scientific investigations into the samples they have collected. For those unable to make it there will be a webcast of the event.

If you are not based in London or unable to make the event then there are loads of fabulous items on sale at the Natural History Museum online shop in this month's Creepy Crawlies category. A wide range of gadgets for examining insects are available along with fridge magnets, books and videos. "Mega Bugs" by John Lyndon aka Johnny Rotten and the recent series "Life in the Undergrowth" by Sir David Attenborough" are also available.

You can also find a range of more Scientific Entomological Books and Journals at the Natural History museum's Entomology website

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Ancient Fleas

The Whiting Lab at the Brigham Young University have some pictures of mummified fleas as part of the Fleas of the World project.


Tuesday, 8 May 2007

Flea Films on Youtube

There's been some recent changes to Youtube, the Acme Miniature Flea circus has uploaded their flea circus film clip from Don Polec's World and has been added to my list of other flea circus films there.

Also The Flea Film site has been updated to show the work in progress videos from Youtube.


Monday, 7 May 2007

Flea Circus Posters

The artist David Manuel involved in the HP Wobulation advert has placed some of his posters on his blog.

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Sala, Monck, Bertolotto and loss of the Industrious Fleas

In my previous blog entry I mentioned that I had found a reference to the Industrious Fleas in a book by George Augustus Sala and wonder if it was connected to my research into L.Bertolotto. A trip to the Westminster Archives proved fruitful and after a little light reading I found the relevant section of the second volume and was both glad to see this strong connection between the world of the Flea Circus and the genealogical research linking Bertolotto in London and Canada. Sala mentions that Governor Monck's butler was the owner of the Industrious Fleas. However there is also a sad story to tell as Sala describes the destruction of the fleas in a fire.

Life and Adventures of George Augustus Sala written by himself
In Two Volumes
Vol II
Third Edition
Cassell and Company, Ltd 1895
Page 45

Across the Atlantic
"It was not until the summer of 1864 that I visited Quebec. Travelling, in the first instance, by steamer on the beautiful St. Laurence, and by the Thousand Islands, the romantic, old-fashioned aspect of the ancient capital of Lower Canada pleased me hugely. Quebec was then the residence of a Governor-General of Canada, Viscount Monck, and we were hospitably entertained at his Excellency's summer quarters near Quebec. I specially remember these viceregal dinners, for two very different reasons. Lord Monck's butler had been the proprietor of the original Industrious Fleas; and his talented troupe, includig the flea that drew the cannon, the flea that rode in the sedan-chair, and the flea that impersonated Napoleon Bonaparte's charger Marengo, had all been burnt - poor little insects! - in a terrible fire at the Governor's country seat."

The Governor and his family

Related links:

Flea Researcher releases Quirky book

Richard Wiseman who wrote the history of the flea circus article available on Walt Noon's site has brought out a book called Quickology.

"‘Quirkology’ is a term coined by Prof Richard Wiseman to refer to psychological research that is quirky. Much of this work uses mainstream methods to investigate unusual topics, or unusual methods to investigate mainstream topics."

In the flea circus article Richard Wiseman also mentions "Nightmare Alley" a novel by William Lindsay Gresham. If you have a copy of this book and know of the flea connection there then please let me know.

Tuesday, 1 May 2007

Arthur, Odo and tutors visit the Industrious Fleas

From: Lord William Russell and his wife, 1815-1846
by Georgiana Blakiston
Publisher: London, J. Murray, 1972.
ISBN: 0719522420 9780719522420

Oakley, Dec 3rd, 1839

"During their first weeks in London Arthur and Odo with the two tutors pursued a course of sightseeing that took them from the Tower of London to the British Museum and the Polytechnic Institute, and included a visit to the Industrious Fleas, while their evenings were often spent at the play when the ducal boxes at Drury Lane and Covent Garden were available."

Arthur and Odo were Natural History enthusiasts and the diary goes on to tell how they had a large amount of pets, visited the snake shops in Cannon Street and a taxidermists in Bank.

These two went on to become an MP, Lord Arthur John Edward Russell and the first British ambassador to the German Empire, Odo William Leopold Russell, 1st Baron Ampthill.

There is also tenuous Bertolotto connection because Lord Russell died on 16 July 1846 at age 56 in Genoa, Italy which was where Bertolotto was born.