Butterfly collecting

May 16 2011    

mounted in boxes

I was going to title this post “butterflies” but then I realized that some butterfly lovers would be sadly shocked to encounter all these beauties dried on pins in white boxes. When they are juicy and lilting through the forests its really much more exciting. But, we cant see that at home.

I purchased these specimens for my dad at the Bug Fair. He wanted an atlas moth and a birdwing butterfly, but it turns out that birdwings are pretty endangered and cost over $250. So I picked up the Atlas moth and a whole lot of other beautiful ones that were $5-$35.

When I was a child, my dad helped me build a killing jar for butterflies and other insects. Its a mayonaise jar with a cotton ball in it soaked in fingernail polish remover (acetone). You put the butterfly in there and it dies pretty much immediately, and it doesn’t get damaged. The alternative is pinching their thorax in just the right place, but thats a little tricky sometimes and leaves them dented.

I became very familiar with all kinds of insects through my observations with net and jar. Im very respectful of them now and try to help them out. I think the killing jar led me to help preserve many more than I caught. It worked for me. Maybe not for everyone but it worked for me.

Altacus Atlas