Decline of butterfly collecting hobby threatens conservation research


Butterfly collection

Butterfly collections are becoming rarer

Bob Jensen/Alamy

The decline of butterfly collecting as a hobby is making conservation research more difficult for entomologists, according to an analysis of 1.4 million specimens held in US museum collections dating from the 1800s.

Although butterfly collecting is often seen as a pastime of Victorian-era gentlemen, Erica Fischer at King’s College London and their colleagues actually found that the largest growth in specimens occurred between 1945 and 1960, showing an 82 per cent increase.

This may have been driven by college-educated veterans who received free tuition after the second world war, the researchers …

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