Natural and supernatural worlds will collide at the ROM

Vampire bats and birds, live leeches and lampreys, and more of nature’s most bloodthirsty animals star in this ROM-original exhibition.Vampire bats and birds, live leeches and lampreys, and more of nature’s most bloodthirsty animals star in this ROM-original exhibition.

Discover the fascinating science lurking beneath the surface of history’s most enduring legends at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM) this fall with Bloodsuckers: Legends to Leeches. Vampire bats and birds, live leeches and lampreys, and more of nature’s most bloodthirsty animals star in this ROM-original exhibition, debuting Saturday, Nov. 16, in nearby Toronto.

“Bloodsuckers explores the unique intersection between science and culture, fact and fantasy,” said Josh Basseches, Director & CEO, ROM. “Through the ROM’s own collections, this compelling exhibition unlocks the deep connections between the world of bloodfeeding animals and their uncanny ability to fire people’s imaginations. I can’t wait for visitors to see it.”

Blood is a vital life source for humans, and an abundant food source for an astounding 30,000 species across the globe, including birds, mammals, fish, insects, leeches and flatworms. Bloodsuckers pulls visitors into this world, starting on a microscopic level with the biology behind blood. Live animals, larger-than-life displays, immersive installations and touchable models delve into these diverse organisms and their feeding mechanisms in detail, showing visitors just how clever bloodfeeders are, and the intricate ways they have evolved to drain blood and thrive on it.

“Visitors will be awed by the incredible diversity of animals that feed on blood,” said Dr. Sebastian Kvist, evolutionary biologist and Curator of Invertebrates at the ROM. “The term ‘bloodsuckers’ usually makes people think of mosquitoes, but in fact thousands of species have evolved independently to find blood, feed on it and keep it flowing—all while escaping from their prey with their lives intact! It’s incredible, and I’m excited for people to discover a new appreciation for these highly specialized animals.”

Bloodsuckers is co-curated by Dr. Kvist and Dr. Doug Currie, vice president, Department of Natural History and Senior Curator of Entomology at the ROM. The museum will host engaging programming throughout the exhibition’s run; specifics to be announced in the fall.

Developed by the ROM, Bloodsuckers: Legends to Leeches is a separately ticketed exhibition on display until Sunday, March 22, 2020 in the Museum’s Garfield Weston Exhibition Hall. A descriptive audio tour will be available. ROM Members receive free admission and exclusive opportunities to experience exhibitions and programs. For more information, visit www.rom.on.ca.




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