Science: Two-hundred-year old butterflies allow research to take wing

Last Updated: March 7, 2017

Science reveals new interesting details and curious facts about butterflies, the two-hundred-year-old large insect collection of Niels Tønder Lund and Ramel Sehestedt helped modern insect researchers from Oslo University know many new facts about these beautiful insects and even allowed research to take wing.

Science and its history showed many examples when the old exponents of the museums were helping modern researchers to make a discovery. The Oslo Museum keeps the twenty-five glass boxes full of butterflies and other bugs, which were collected by eager amateurs entomologists two centuries ago in the different corners of then-Denmark colonies.

These unique exponents were passed from one collector to another, the end point was an Oslo Museum where they became a subject od the entomological research under the guidance of Geir E. E. Søli, an Associate Professor at the University of Oslo Natural History Museum (NHM).

“There’s a lot of systematics and entomological history in these boxes. This was the start of the entire insect collection at the University of Oslo,”

noted Ass. Professor Søli.


The two-hundred-year-old butterflies collection and its importance for the entomology

The insects from that collection helped initiate the study of systematics in Norway, after the useful initiative of natural scientist Carl Linnaeus who offered new and smart system for the categorizing animals and plants. In fact, Swedish system and the two-hundred-year old butterflies from Norway allowed entomologists to take wing.

It is worth to note that all these unique exponents could end up at the University of Oslo’s NHM thanks to two prosperous men, two naturalist celebrities. This collection’s story began in the late 1700s in the Danish capital when the civil servant Niels Tønder Lund and Count Ove Ramel Sehestedt started a joint insect collection, the first exponents of that were the bugs and butterflies from far corner of the world like India, Sumatra and Southeast Asia.