Butterflies and Moths (Lepidoptera) collection

Butterflies and Moths (Lepidoptera) collection

A large collection of around 170,000 pinned British specimens, along with a good selection of European and World species.

Unfortunately the museum’s insect collections were virtually destroyed by an incendiary bomb in 1941 resulting in significant losses to our Lepidoptera collection, including the N. Cooke collection which was particularly rich in material from North-west England. Subsequent proactive acquisition of specimens has allowed us to obtain the following collections:

British collections

British species are well represented with 97% species coverage. We hold approximately 50,000 specimens of British micro-Lepidoptera, primarily F.N. Pierce and A.C. Vine material, the Pierce specimens complement genitalia slides housed at the Natural History Museum, London.

Approximately 120,000 specimens of British macro-Lepidoptera, primarily from the collections of S.R. Fraser, J.S. Greenhill, A.H. Hamm, A. Robinson, I. Rutherford, H.B. Turner and H. Willoughby-Ellis. The museum also houses the Lepidoptera collection of the Lancashire & Cheshire Entomological Society which contains material from B.B. Snell amongst other collectors.

World collections

The 23,000 foreign specimens provide a good coverage of world butterfly genera and include D.P. Murray's collection of South Africa Lycaenidae, other material was purchased from G. Talbot & W. Rosenberg in the 1950s. The M. Hull collection currently numbers around 40,000 British & Palaearctic Lepidoptera and associated microscope preparations and is still in development.

Some of the research collections of Prof. Sir Cyril Clarke are also represented.

Collection development 

The broad species coverage in the British reference collections alongside the reduced need to take specimens when recording a proportion of the British macro lepidoptera has resulted in a selective acquistion policy. Valuable additions to our collections include voucher specimens of additions to our local and national fauna, critical species and type material. A comprehensive Palaearctic collection is in development and this is a major area of collection growth.

Collections are available Monday - Friday by prior appointment with the curator Tony Hunter:

email: tony.hunter@liverpoolmuseums.org.uk
telephone: 0151 478 4106