Lepidoptera Collection

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The collection has been inventoried and curated at the species level. Integration of the Strecker and several smaller collections with the main collection was completed along with moving and rehousing the entire Lepidoptera (butterfly and moth) collection in new cabinets. The Strecker collection specimen data and comprehensive inventory data are both presented here. Indications of type status should be regarded as preliminary, since they are generally based only on the presence of type labels; the main exception to this is the Strecker types of Catocala species (Noctuidae), a catalog of which was published in 1990 (Gall, L. F. & D. C. Hawks. Systematics of Catocala moths (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). I. Type material in the Strecker collection, with lectotype designations. - Fieldiana (Zoology n.s.) 59: 1-16). Users should note that the "Str-" numbers used for collecting sites and events for the Strecker specimens are merely database reference numbers; they have no historical significance and are not present on the specimen labels.

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Herman Strecker: The Sculptor Who Collected Butterflies

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Herman Strecker was a sculptor who lived in Pennsylvania from 1836 to 1901. Starting as a teenager, he collected and studied butterflies and moths, corresponding and exchanging specimens with other specialists around the world, including Grand Duke Nicholas of Russia. Herman Strecker first named and described 251 different species of butterflies and moths, mostly in a book he illustrated and published in parts from 1872 to 1900.

Although Herman Strecker was an “amateur” in today’s terms, when he died his was the largest and most important collection of butterflies and moths in the Americas, containing more than 50,000 specimens. The Field Museum purchased this important collection in 1908. It also acquired several thousand letters between Strecker and other leading naturalists of the day.

To learn more about butterflies and The Field Museum’s worldwide butterfly collection and to see some of Strecker's correspondence from the museum archives, visit The Field Museum’s Lepidoptera microsite.