Wednesday, 2 September 2020

1702

Naturally, at this time of year, I am always on the lookout for Brown Hairstreak butterflies, and nearly always failing to see one – except that this year I did! And then today I happened on this picture of the oldest specimen of the Brown Hairstreak (and one of the oldest of any species) to have survived. It once belonged to James Petiver, the 'father of British entomology', and was caught near Croydon – just down the road from me – on the last day of August in 1702. A quite astonishing survival and an astonishing link with one of the very first butterfly men, this antique specimen now lives in the Natural History Museum.

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