In the past, notably during the 19th century, the Warwickshire Museum collected specimens from exotic locations. Amongst our natural history collections we have a number of exotic butterflies, collected from tropical and subtropical places and well-known for their size and exotic patterns and colours.
One of these – the blue morpho – is known formally as Morpho peleides. It is one of our planet’s largest-known butterflies, with a wing span of up to around 20 centimetres. They live in the humid tropical forests of Latin America, on a liquid diet of decomposing fruit and other vegetation, and even decomposing animals. They face many threats, not least deforestation and over-collecting.
Today’s collecting policy
Today, our collecting policies mean that we collect plant and animal specimens mainly from Warwickshire. However, we have a duty of care for our more exotic specimens collected in the past, and recognise the role that they can play in education and raising awareness of ecological and environmental issues.