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You are in: Oxford > Nature > Nature features > Bug man

Poecilus kugelanni

Bug man

Finding out more about local insect expert George McGavin.

Facts about George

Dr George C. McGavin is an Honorary Research Associate the Oxford University Museum of Natural History and The Department of Zoology of Oxford University. He is also Visiting Professor of Entomology at the University of Derby.

Research and travels have taken him all over the world (the rainforest of Papua New Guinea, Belize and Thailand, the savannas of Tanzania and the mountains of the northern Pakistan).

George eats insects and appeared on the Richard and Judy Show as the guest chef. He has three insect species named in his honour and hopes they survive him.

George lives in Oxfordshire with his wife Lois. His daughter Amy is in the final year of her English and Drama course at Queen Mary College, London.

Here is a scary fact... if you aren't into bugs that is. For every human being alive there are 40 tonnes of insects!  That is equivalent to five African elephants!  They come in all shapes and sizes and I would imagine wherever you are right now, there will be some species of creepy-crawly none too far away from you.

This is an area that fascinates bug man George McGavin.  After 25 years as an Oxford University academic, George has decided to go freelance as an author and presenter. He is currently working on a scientific thriller and his autobiography. In July and August he will be filming another BBC series, 'Expedition Papua New Guinea'.

George McGavin

George McGavin

George feels it is up to us as humans to understand the world around us and he has always been interested in animals and plants.  His interest in insects specifically started at 19 when he was in his second year at Edinburgh University. The class was on a field trip and everyone else was looking for badgers and owls. George looked down and saw trails of wood ants... and he was hooked!  He says it was then that he thought if he wanted to understand the real world, perhaps he should be looking at the small stuff. 

He came to Oxford after getting a job at Oxford University Museum of Natural History and 25 years later his passion - and what he says some people describe as obsession - has kept him busy as a broadcaster, writer and researcher.  Who would guess that a trail of ants would lead him onto a lifetime of insect watching?

Oh, and he loves eating insects which he says he thinks of as flying prawns, and encourages us to eat more of them!  

Hear Jo Thoenes' interview with George McGavin by clicking on the links below.

last updated: 01/04/2008 at 16:00
created: 01/04/2008

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