I’m back working in the Entomology and Botany departments here at the Manchester Museum. One of my first projects upon returning was to separate and identify Neotropical specimens of Lepidoptera by family and eventually, genus and species.

There is a wonderful set of books called Butterflies of the World by Bernard D’Abrera. Each book lists butterflies from various regions around the world and by family. The photographs within are also lifesized pictures of the Lepidoptera.

I looked through old storeboxes for undetermined specimens of Lepidoptera. I was able to tell if some (like the Ithomiidae) were from the Neotropics immediately. For others, I had to see if they had any geographical information on the labels and compare specimens with those in the books.

Some of the specimens were very old and battered, like this Morpho. There were many loose wings and bodies that had become brittle and broken.

I was able to repair some, such as this clearwing. Before:


Most of the specimens belonged to the families Ithomiidae and Heliconiidae, but there were a few Papilionidae and Nymphalidae that needed identifying, as well as one Morpho.

The newly determined specimens will soon be incorporated into the collection.


About Gina Allnatt

I have just finished a year long traineeship as a Biology Curator at Manchester Museum. I am currently a research and curation volunteer in the Entomology and Botany departments. -Gina Allnatt
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