University of Kentucky College of Agriculture

UK Entomology Teams Up With Nigel Marven and the Discovery Channel

On the set with Nigel and the crewThe University of Kentucky Department of Entomology had a chance to assist with the filming of an episode of the Discovery Channel series "Nigel's Wild, Wild World." What a cool experience!


If you haven't seen the show, Nigel's Wild, Wild World features Nigel Marven, an adventurer and wildlife enthusiast who spends his time trotting the globe looking for unusual creatures to showcase on film.


This time, Nigel was interested in featuring some of our "departmental mascots," including Madagascar hissing cockroaches, giant New Guinea walking sticks, and a tailless whipscorpion (generously loaned by graduate student and principal laboratory technician Lisa Taylor).


Nigel is attacked by a face-hugger!


It was fascinating to watch the filming process. Nigel and the critters were the only ones in front of the camera, and only a minute or two of footage was shot, but there was a whole crew on hand to make sure everything ran smoothly. And what an array of cameras, lights, and audio equipment!


To be frank, it was quite intimidating, and our insects were so overwhelmed that they needed several takes to get their parts right. That's showbiz for you.


Hissing cockroaches in their dressing roomThe filming took place at the Salato Wildlife Education Center in Frankfort. They've got lots of neat things to see, including a BIG freshwater aquarium, a living honeybee hive, and a real Kentucky Wildcat. Visit the Salato Wildlife Center on the web here.


Update: A few months after the shoot, our creatures appeared in an episode called Weird and Wild: Wild Sex where Nigel investigates unusual reproductive strategies from the animal kingdom.  And our insects definitely have some weird reproductive strategies!


As Nigel would say, "Brilliant!"


Nigel sizes up a giant tailless whipscorpion