The Simms Indo-Australian Collection

I’m currently working on documenting and updating the nomenclature of this collection of butterflies, which was donated to The Manchester Museum in 1960 by the brothers Harold M and F.H. Simms along with a smaller European collection of Lepidoptera.

Along with the collection itself, which consists of thousands of butterfly specimens, archival material such as notebooks and lists were also donated. A notebook contains a lovingly handwritten list of species collected from the region.

The collection still needs a professional taxonomist to look at it, but I’ve been using references including LepIndex on the Natural History Museum website to check the nomenclature is accurate. There are also many misidentifications and unpublished names on labels in the collection.

Indian Crow Butterflies:

Butterflies from the family Satyridae:

One of the most interesting species in the collection is the Dead Leaf butterly (Kallima inachus). The butterfly sports colourful blue wings with an intense band of orange running through them and black wingtips. However, when its wings are closed it resembles a dried leaf complete with vein markings. During the dry and wet season, the species has different colouration, with the colours being much more subdued in the dry season.

Dry season form of Kallima inachus:

Documentation of the collection involved creating and modifying taxonomic records on KE Emu, the Museum’s collections database. Butterfly taxonomy is almost constantly undergoing revision, so many of the species names had been moved into different genera.

I’ll be posting more about the families in this collection as the project progresses.

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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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