A DUDLESTON Heath man has become one of the key figures in logging beetle collections at Liverpool's World Museum.

Andrew Roberts, who attends Wrexham's Glyndwr University, is working at the museum logging the beetle collection of Walter le Quesne, an amateur entomologist from the Channel island of Jersey whose work is renowned among insect lovers – but whose collection has never been fully catalogued.

As the thousands of specimens in the collection are identified thanks to Andrew’s work, they can be added to the museum’s full collection – and the data they hold can be made available to researchers across the globe.

Andrew said: “There are somewhere between 1,000 and 2,000 specimens I’m working through – they are just the Coleoptera order – that’s beetles – as Walter le Quesne’s main interest was Hempitera, the true bugs so while he collected other insects, other parts of the collection are less well-known.

“The museum received the collection back in the early 90s but hadn’t had a chance to look at it – it has sat in the archives for years. I’ve started identifying the species I find and adding them to the museum’s lists.”

The project began as a labour of love for Andrew, who also works as a chimney sweep alongside studying for his Wildlife and Plant Biology course.

“In my first year, we went to the museum as one of our site visits – that was the first time I saw the collection, and the first time I got into it!" said Andrew. "I met Tony Hunter, who is the assistant curator there, and got to know him.

“Then, later, I was doing a presentation and one of the things I wanted to do on it was explain the differences between various kinds of ground beetles – so I visited the museum again to look at their ground beetle collections.

"I looked at around fifty specimens of the beetles to get my eye in when talking about the differences and that meant I was at the museum a lot.

“Then, when I heard the museum was looking for volunteers, I just kept on going – I’ve racked up something like 100 hours as a volunteer.

“Now, I’m working there one or two times a week alongside my studies, going through Walter’s collection – I travel up from Shropshire each time!”

Programme leader in Animal Studies, Angela Winstanley, said: “By lending his skills to help analyse this collection, Andrew is not only getting a chance to extend his identification skills – he’s also adding to the records of one of Liverpool’s leading museums."