The Museum’s Lepidoptera collection is one of the oldest, largest and certainly the most type rich.
The collection contains 12.5 million pinned specimens and one million papered specimens housed in 80,000 drawers. There are 125,000 type specimens.
The Lepidoptera specimens are divided into two separate collections, British/Irish and international.
The collection is comprehensive in its geographical coverage. Particularly well represented areas include:
- Southeast Asia
This collection includes taxa described by Bates, Bethune-Baker, Boisduval, Butler, Evans, Fabricius, Felder, Fruhstorfer, Hampson, Inoue, Jordan, Leech, Meyrick, Oberthur, Prout, Rothschild, Walker, Walsingham, Wileman and Zeller.
British and Irish collection
Includes collections from Bankes, Chalmers-Hunt, Cockayne, Emmet, Ford, Goater, Jacobs, Kettlewell, Rothschild, Stainton, Stephens, Watson and West.
Specimens are carefully preserved in a variety of ways:
- dried specimens mounted on pins - the majority of adult Lepidoptera
- microscope slides - dissected body parts (e.g. genitalia), wing preparations or whole bodies
- preserved in fluid, especially Lepidoptera larvae
Looking for a specimen?
The Lepidoptera collection is being digitised
Any questions ?
If you would like to use any specimens for research
We have set out on an ambitious programme to develop a new science and digitisation centre. As we prepare for the move, access to some collections will be affected.
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