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Drawer of Butterflies, Swallowtail, Hairstreaks, Victorian

  • Swallowtail and hairstreak butterflies

Swallowtail and Hairstreak Butterfly Drawer

G.B. Routledge collected many species of butterflies between the 1890s and the 1920s. As a wealthy man, he could afford to spend time on his collection, and many Victorians have founded scientifically important insect collections. His collection is now owned by Tullie House.

These drawers help us to identify current species, and study changes in butterfly numbers through changes to climate and habitat. This is helpful for conservation.

In this drawer:

The Swallowtail - the largest species of British butterfly. This species is found only in East Anglia, because milk parsley plants are the only food of the larvae.

The Green Hairstreak - named after the delicate white lines on the wings which resemble hairs. These butterflies have a vivid green underside to their wings, which helps them to camouflage against their favourite food sources; hawthorn, heath and bilberry, all of which have bright green leaves.

The Purple Hairstreak - found in Cumbria more recently owing to increases in temperature, and climate change. These again have delicate white lines on the wings, although these markings look like the letter W on this species!  These butterflies are difficult to see, since they are usually found high up in the canopies of oak trees.

More Information? Click here.

Key facts: 
  • This drawer of butterflies is part of the G.B. Routledge Collection
  • These help to identify specific butterfly species and monitor modern changes to butterfly numbers to help conservation.

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