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Insectarium tickles curiosity at Highland Square Mall

Wynn Kondracki and her mother Bethany admire some of the many insects in the collection of Lloyd and Sandy Hollett at Highland Square Mall on Monday afternoon.
Wynn Kondracki and her mother Bethany admire some of the many insects in the collection of Lloyd and Sandy Hollett at Highland Square Mall on Monday afternoon. - Sam Macdonald


Highland Square Mall was host to a lot of creepy-crawlies Monday, and a lot of intrigued guests.

Many students made the most of their March break, checking out some of the insects and creatures at the display for the Newfoundland Insectarium on Monday.

Lloyd Hollett and his wife Sandy were at the mall, displaying a wide variety of insects, arachnids and other creatures of varying sizes, from across the globe. The display will be there until Wednesday.

Hollett said the most common reaction of guests is fascination at the wide variety of creatures – from scarab beetles, toads and scorpions to millipedes and black widow spiders. The entirety of the creatures on display at the mall actually only constitute less than one per cent of the Holletts’ entire collection – they have much more on display in Newfoundland.

“My personal favourite of the collection is the Mexican tarantula,” said Seth Prindiville, one of the many guests checking out the exhibit on Monday afternoon. “It’s very colourful, and fascinating to see. It was pretty cool to see all of them – except for the millipede. Millipedes disgust me with those legs and the weird way they twist their bodies.”

Chantal Fiander said it was “creepy but cool,” to behold the many insects, joking about how grateful she was that the creatures were all behind glass.

“The scorpion was probably the most interesting one to check out,” said Fiander. “It was smaller than I thought it would be.”

The collections on display were mostly specimens preserved after death, but to the great entertainment and wonderment of many kids visiting the Newfoundland Insectarium exhibit on Monday there were several live insects, including a tarantula, toad and millipede.

“It’s a combination of fear and fascination,” said Hollett, a Newfoundlander whose Insectarium’s permanent location is near Corner Brook. “The more dangerous the insect the more fascinated they are.”
Hollett said there is a wide variety of people who visit the exhibit in the run of a day, and that the collection is made up of insects from a wide variety of places. He noted that the collection is sourced from places all over the world, and is made up of the results of extensive trading with museums and other organizations in a variety of countries.

This year, the Holletts plan on cutting their trip a little shorter so they can be with their daughter – who is about to have a baby in P.E.I.
“We started in Sydney. We usually do about four or five malls, but this year, we’re going to cut it short, so we won’t be on the road when (our daughter) has her baby.”
Hollett said that it’s not much trouble to set up shop or pack up, noting that it takes about half an hour to set up the display and 45 minutes to pack it back up into their Dodge Grand Caravan.
“We’ve been collecting for over 40 years, and spent a 10-year period trading,” said Hollett. “We’ve been doing this for eight or nine years. The tour is a great way to entertain kids on their March break.”

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