From the Stacks: Red Wing Grasshopper

This Red Wing Grasshopper is a part of the Luke C. Palumbo (1912 – 2006) Insect Collection.


The insects, amphibians, marine life and other jungle “critters” in this collection come from Coach Palumbo’s private collection. Having collected specimens in and around the Canal Zone and jungles of Panama, Coach Palumbo displayed portions of them in his home, at Cristobal High School and at presentations both in Panama and the United States.

The Panama Canal Museum Collection gratefully appreciates the generosity of Judy Palumbo Gates and the rest of the Palumbo family for their donation of the specimens to the collection.

Which insects and animals do you remember encountering during your every day life in the Zone?


  • Robert Dryja

    An annual “butterfly” migration occurred in the 1950’s where I grew up in Balboa. The butterfly was actually a urania moth that had distinctive black and green stripes. It seemed that 100’s of them would appear, flying toward what was known as the tank farm between Balboa and La Boca. I thought they continued to fly across the Panama Canal toward the jungle on the west bank.

  • Bob Dillon

    Remember all the colorful caterpillars inching up, down and along the trees, dangling from high strung threads….everywhere?. And the how about doodle bugs, trapdoor spider and other strange lifeforms at Diablo Heights Elementary School? Maybe clouds of gigantic fireflies,giant beetles hypnotized around the porch light, 747 Cockroaches (with sharp teeth or course) crawling on you to remind you that sleep can be interrupted, migrations of Royal blue butterflies, so many butterflies, driving down pipeline road? Man, we had big bugs. There were shed locus bodies, still attached to the trees in Diablo Mangrove swamp (RIP), that must have weighed a pound when occupied, Grasshoppers as long as your full grown foot. There might have some exaggeration but the roaches do bite. Are there any iguanas left in Diablo? We didn’t eat therm. They were there first. Even if they do taste like chicken. Hows that Panamanian cuisine thing going. Are those frozen Miami iguanas ready for the deep fryer yet? Don’t keep them in the freezer too long. Yum! I digress. Yea we the bugs were scary and cool.

    • Mimi Stratford Collins

      😀 Yes, we miss our bugs LOL!
      Favorite books: “The Jungle Whispers” by Kenneth Vinton (1956), a wonderfully fun teacher; and “The Tapir’s Morning Bath” by Elizabeth Royte (2001). Now, those are jungle books! 😉

  • dempsey pagan jr.

    during my early years in Cristobal in the 1950’s and later as a sailor in Ft. Gulick in 1971/72, I had Coatimundis and as pets. I also fished for peacock bass and loved collecting lake tropical fishes such as guppies and ciclids for my aquariums….and just last month, at age of 69 I made a sentimental visit to my birth hospital, Coco Solo Hospital. Panama never lets you go !!!!

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