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The evolution of this website

We are Father and Son; Dave and Conall Murray and needless to say we have an interest in beetles. For Conall this interest began at about the age of 10; we had been collecting and studying moths for a few years prior to this and, as every lepidopterist will know, this behaviour continually produces specimens of beetles, things that I could put a name to and which Conall found fascinating. I should add here that I have studied insects from early childhood and have a passing familiarity with the various orders.

Anyway, from a very early age I have been curious about and quite proud of my ability to very quickly remember lists of latin names of animals-just the way my mind works, I suppose-but from our earliest moth-trapping sessions back in 2004 it became obvious that Conall had inherited this trait along with, it would seem, the same fascination for entomology. In my case I studied beetles as a hobby during the 1970s and 1980s; with a few dear friends I would go collecting around west London and south Buckinghamshire and take the occasional camping trip to collect further afield and so, armed with a copy of Joy and various handbooks etc. I built up a collection which, even in my twenties, gave me the strange feeling that nothing else really mattered in life. This ever increasing obsession was finally put to rest when I began studying biology part-time as this became an even stronger obsession.

Favourable academic results coupled with a very unfavourable outcome to a teenage marriage led me to sell the collection to a well-known entomological trader and immerse myself in science. (I sometimes wonder where those thousands of specimens ended up.) In the late 1990s I moved to Watford and settled down, finished studying and began to raise a family. Partly because we had decided to home educate, and partly I suppose with hindsight to satisfy some inner daemon, I bought our eldest child a moth trap for her birthday - she must have been five or six. Then I took our three children out on a few moth trapping evenings with the brilliant Herts moth group and this behaviour eventually lead to our collecting beetles.

Our earliest specimens are a series of Apion frumentarium from 2006, carrying the specimen numbers 1 to 8, and at the time of writing the specimen we are working on is Agelastica alni and it carries the number 23511. All these numbers are present as specimens in our collection, which represents well over half the British list and which we hope to illustrate on this site via a series of photographs of our cabinet drawers. Having amassed such a collection, and having enjoyed so much year-round, day and night, field and curating work, we feel it high time that some of our efforts are made useful to others via a website. Our collection drawers are already photographed and the data from our reference specimens are stored in an access database and it is our intention to make this available in one way or another on the site, along with this we have many thousands of records from our trips stored in journals and these may, effort permitting, eventually be added to the site.

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