Conservation DistList Archives [Date] [Subject] [Author] [SEARCH]

Subject: Lighting for butterfly collection

Lighting for butterfly collection

From: Sally Shelton <libsdnhm>
Date: Thursday, August 8, 1996
I am forwarding the post with the original butterfly query to an
entomologist who may know of specific research on butterfly fading
that I don't.

Basically, your approach is sound. You should be aware that there is
more than one way butterfly wings show color. Pigmented scales on
the wings will fade; scales with structural colors will not. If you
have a large proportion of butterflies such as the blue Morphos, you
need not take such extreme measures to prevent fading. Red and
yellow-based tones are pigment colors, as are some blues and greens.
You will also lose color if the scales are abraded or jostled away
(I saw some damage to butterflies from Darwin's own collection
displayed at Down House in a low case which was frequently bumped
and leaned on).

However, the whole insect itself will be vulnerable to embrittlement
and disintegration over time if it is exposed to UV. The more of
this you can cut out, the better. The type of lighting you describe
should work for preservation of both color and specimen integrity.
Good luck,

Sally Shelton
Director, Collections Care and Conservation
President-Elect, Society for the Preservation of Natural History
San Diego Natural History Museum
P.O. Box 1390
San Diego, California  92112
Fax: 619-232-0248

                  Conservation DistList Instance 10:18
                 Distributed: Tuesday, August 13, 1996
                       Message Id: cdl-10-18-004
Received on Thursday, 8 August, 1996

[Search all CoOL documents]