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.
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.
Definitions of entomological and scientific terms used on our website
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.
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.
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.
Can I take the butterfly 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 your specimen very carefully by the top inside edge of the forewings closest to the body.
How do I spread the wings on the unmounted butterflies without breaking them?
Can you provide more information on the specimens I ordered?
Absolutely! We maintain a database of where all of our specimens come from and when they were acquired. If you would like scientific data for your specimens feel free to contact us and we will provide all of the information we have available.
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.
How often do you acquire new specimens?
Daily! Be sure to check back regularly for first dibs on new arrivals!
How long will you have the current selection in stock?
It depends. We do sell out of some species occasionally before we have the opportunity to restock. If there is something you need that is no longer on the site feel free to contact us and we will let you know an estimate on when they will be available again.
I am looking for something in particular and you don’t have it on your site?
Feel free to contact us with a list of what you need and we will see what we can do. We have hundreds of thousands of specimens so I’m sure we have exactly what you are looking for! If not, we probably know someone who does!
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.
Is shopping with you safe?
Your information is completely safe when shopping with us. Our website is secured with SSL, the standard security technology for establishing an encrypted link between you and the web server. This ensures that all of your data is private. We have over 12,000 5-star reviews and thousands of customers that will vouch for our professionalism and excellent customer service. You are in good hands!
What are your shipping rates?
Once everything is added to your cart shipping will automatically be calculated based on the total weight of the package to your address. If your order totals over $100 we will ship free!
When will my order be shipped?
Your order will be shipped within 1-2 business days unless otherwise specified by an away message on our home page. You will receive an email confirmation with the tracking information for your box when your order has been shipped. We offer standard, expedited, and express shipping. You can select the shipping method you prefer at checkout.
How do I know when it will be delivered?
When we have your order packed up and ready to ship we will send you an email with a tracking number for your package. You can use this number to see its location along the way to you and an expected delivery date.
What is your return policy?
We guarantee 100% complete satisfaction with all of our products. If you are unhappy with your order for any reason you may return it for a refund, replacement, or store credit (less shipping charges). The items must be returned in their original condition in order to be eligible for a refund, so please package them carefully, exactly how they arrived. Any loss in value from damage to the specimens will be reflected in your refund or store credit amount.