Are they real?
Of course! All of our butterflies, moths, beetles, and bugs are preserved using the same techniques museums use to prepare their specimens for display. Insects have exoskeletons that can be maintained indefinitely, just like our own skeletons. The wings are also part of their exoskeleton, are made of chitin, and have scales that reflect light and give us the colors we see when we look at them.
Click Here to view informative videos on insect collections and preservation.
Are they fragile?
Yes and no. Our framed specimens are extremely hardy. The white cotton layer inside the frame pushes the butterfly’s wings against the glass to hold the specimen in place. Even if the frame is dropped or shaken the butterfly will stay put and remain intact (comes in handy during the shipping process). Unmounted and pinned specimens should be handled very carefully by the body or pin since there is nothing protecting them from the elements. A butterfly’s wings are like tissue paper, very thin, and easily ripped. Make sure there is no wind or air current when handling the specimen outside the frame.
Where did you get them?
They are raised in butterfly aviaries all over the world. To keep the operations running females are brought in from the wild to lay their eggs inside a large enclosed habitat. This way she and all of her babies are protected from disease, parasites, and predators. One female butterfly can lay thousands of eggs. In the wild only a handful will survive into adulthood because of all of these obstacles. In captivity virtually 100% will survive. Once the butterflies reach adulthood many are released back into the wild to help increase the indigenous populations. The rest are kept in the butterfly house for the rest of their lives, which is only a week or so in most cases, after they hatch from their chrysalis. Museums, universities, and businesses like ours will purchase the deceased specimens to preserve and keep in a collection for the public, to study things like DNA/evolution of a species/mutations/disease, or to make artwork. The money we supply to the butterfly houses helps keep their operation running, which in turn saves the native species of insects and plants from becoming endangered or extinct. This financial incentive motivates governments in third world countries to maintain their natural flora and fauna.
CLICK HERE for more information about butterfly aviaries.
What about the other animals?
We also work with local pet stores, breeders, universities, and museums to acquire other critters like frogs, snakes, seahorses, and octopi. All of the animals we receive from them have died in transit from one place to another or from natural causes like disease, genetic abnormalities, etc.
How do I spread the wings on the unmounted butterflies without breaking them?
What is the difference between the unmounted, mounted, and framed options?
Unmounted butterfly/moth: specimen will come with the wings closed, packaged in a paper envelope, no frame.
Mounted butterfly/moth: specimen will come with the wings spread, pinned in a box with styrofoam, no frame.
Pinned beetle/bug: specimen will come pinned into a box with styrofoam, no frame.
Packaged beetle/bug: specimen will come packaged, unmounted with the wings closed and legs tucked under the body, no frame.
Framed: specimen will come in a frame with a glass front and hanger for the back so it can be displayed on your wall.
Do I need to do anything to maintain my specimens?
The specimens are permanently preserved and will last a lifetime with proper care. They should be kept under glass and must be away from direct sunlight or excess humidity. Click HERE for more information on how to maintain your collection. Click HERE for more information on natural history specimen collection pest management, prevention and control.
What liquid do you use for the wet specimens?
We use 70% isopropyl alcohol
What are the sizes of the frames in inches?
R-mini: 9cm x 6cm = 3.25in x 2.5in
R-1: 11cm x 8cm = 4.25in x 3.25in
R-2: 14cm x 8cm = 5.5in x 4.5in
R-3: 16cm x 14cm = 6in x 5in
R-4: 21cm x 16xm = 8in x 6in
RXL: 30cm x 21cm = 12in x 8in
Why are some of the butterflies missing their abdomens?
Some species of Saturn moths and almost all species of Morpho butterflies have their abdomens purposely removed. If left intact, oils in the abdomen will stain the wings over time.
Can I take the specimen out of the frame?
Yes, there are two nails holding the “lid” to the frame in place. Take out the nails, lift off the lid, and handle the specimen very carefully by the top inside edge of the forewings closest to the body.
Can I hang the frames up on my wall?
Yes, all of our framed specimens come with hangers for the back so you can display them on your wall.