Thousands of coloured wings are on display at the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery with the opening of Butterfly Brilliance, a collection of butterflies and other insects.
Senior Curator of Natural Sciences at the QVMAG David Maynard said it was a significant collection that will be on display for public viewing.
The butterflies on display have been donated by Ian Knight and Trevor Lambkin, two butterfly enthusiasts who have travelled all around the globe learning about the stunning creatures. They worked together in the field for over 40 years and eventually combined their personal collections to create the Lambkin-Knight collection.
The collection will be rotating weekly to allow visits to view all the different types, but also to protect and minimise damage to the collection as butterfly wings fade when exposes to light.
"We are lucky to have been given this collection of over 12,000 butterflies. They have been collected between Hobart and Torres Strait Island for over 50 years," Mr Maynard said.
"The Lambkin-Knight butterfly collection is nationally significant in that it is a window into which species have lived where and when over the past 50 years.
"We can use the collections to understand how the warming climate and other impacts have changed butterfly distributions which, in turn, helps us to understand how plants and other animals are being affected.
Mr Maynard said he hoped that the collection re-engages kids with the great outdoors and connects with nature.
"We are coming into spring and we are going to see a lot more butterfly activity, maybe even encourage kids to plant more butterfly friendly plants at home."
Collections officer at QVMAG Simon Fearn has a passion for butterflies and beetles and said it was great to have a job that he loved.
"The whole collection is arranged in a taxonomic way, by family, genus, species," Mr Fearn said.
"When you have a large collection of insects it has to be very well organised so that you can find each individual insect if needed.
"Behind the scenes I've been pinning a lot of butterflies. It takes a lot of experience to do it well and a lot of practice. I've been doing this since I was a kid, it's a passion of mine I love it."
Mr Fearn said that when working with such delicate materials as butterfly wings precision and patience is key. "You do need to have a steady hand. We are very fortunate to have this collection, it's truly stunning."
Butterfly Brilliance is on display from 23 October to 21 November at the QVMAG and will also feature pinning workshops and a children's butterfly parade.
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