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Quiz about Butterfly Collecting
Quiz about Butterfly Collecting

Butterfly Collecting Trivia Quiz


Once considered a "suitable hobby" for youngsters and adults alike, and nowadays the subject of much debate due to conservation issues; how much do you know about the collection and preparation of specimens for a butterfly or insect collection?

A multiple-choice quiz by Rowena8482. Estimated time: 7 mins.
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Author
Rowena8482
Time
7 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
328,854
Updated
Dec 03 21
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Difficult
Avg Score
4 / 10
Plays
4056
Last 3 plays: woodstockwanda (10/10), nnouner (5/10), HumblePie7 (6/10).
Question 1 of 10
1. The first thing to do when collecting insects or butterflies is, rather obviously, to catch your specimens.
One way of doing this, invented in 1934, uses a tent like structure which funnels insects up into a "killing jar" or cylinder where the dead insects are then preserved until the collector returns.
Named for the man who invented it, what is this tentlike trap called?
Hint


Question 2 of 10
2. Years ago, potassium cyanide was often used as the killing agent for collected butterfly specimens, but for obvious reasons this practice is now discouraged and even illegal, depending on your location. Which of these is the chemical of choice nowadays? Hint


Question 3 of 10
3. Once the insect has been caught and killed, it can be prepared for display. What term is used for this process, from removing the specimen from the killing jar, to having it on display? Hint


Question 4 of 10
4. The first stage of the insect display preparation process is known as "relaxing".
There are several different methods of relaxing a specimen, most of which take around 24 hours. One quicker method, used for butterflies and moths, involves injecting the thorax of the specimen with which substance?
Hint


Question 5 of 10
5. Dragonfly specimens are prepared for display in the same way as butterfly and beetle specimens.


Question 6 of 10
6. During the process of preparing a specimen for display, what would a butterfly collector do with a "pooter"? Hint


Question 7 of 10
7. The largest species of butterfly yet discovered was first captured in 1906 in Papua New Guinea, and named for a member of the British Royal family. Which species is this? Hint


Question 8 of 10
8. Some species of butterflies, and indeed other insects, are endangered and protected from collectors by law. Since the 1970s, trade in endangered species has been covered by CITES, the "Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora". By which other name are these regulations sometimes known? Hint


Question 9 of 10
9. The Rothschild Brothers were very famous naturalists in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Many species of flora and fauna are named after them, and they used their extensive family fortune to amass definitive wildlife collections, including a butterfly collection which is now part of the Natural History Museum's Rothschild-Cockayne-Kettlewell Collection.
What were their first names?
Hint


Question 10 of 10
10. Which of these is NOT one of the three Superfamilies of butterflies? Hint



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quiz
Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. The first thing to do when collecting insects or butterflies is, rather obviously, to catch your specimens. One way of doing this, invented in 1934, uses a tent like structure which funnels insects up into a "killing jar" or cylinder where the dead insects are then preserved until the collector returns. Named for the man who invented it, what is this tentlike trap called?

Answer: Malaise trap

There are many different shapes and weights of collection nets available, and also several different designs of trap which can be left alone and emptied after a period of time has elapsed. The Malaise trap, devised by Rene Malaise, is one of the largest traps, and can be left for several days before the specimens are collected. By placing long troughs or pans at the bottom of the netting wall, beetles and non flying insects can also be caught.
The siting of the trap has a large bearing on its effectiveness, and a well placed Malaise trap can catch in excess of one thousand specimens a day.
2. Years ago, potassium cyanide was often used as the killing agent for collected butterfly specimens, but for obvious reasons this practice is now discouraged and even illegal, depending on your location. Which of these is the chemical of choice nowadays?

Answer: Ethyl acetate

An average killing jar used by an insect collector has an airtight lid, and a small amount of plaster of Paris dried in a layer in the bottom. The ethyl acetate is then dropped onto the plaster and diffuses out into the jar as gas. The insects are popped into the jar, the lid is closed tightly, and the gas dispatches the insect without damaging it. Ethyl acetate is often used in nail varnish remover and glue, and is the bit that smells like pear drops.
Potassium cyanide used to be used, but it released cyanide gas and was thus very dangerous to the collector as well as anyone around.
Ethylene glycol is antifreeze such as you would use in the radiator of a car in cold weather.
3. Once the insect has been caught and killed, it can be prepared for display. What term is used for this process, from removing the specimen from the killing jar, to having it on display?

Answer: Setting

The setting process includes each stage of the preparation of the specimen. This can be a lengthy and delicate process as great care must be taken to avoid damage to fragile parts of the creature involved. Even tiny insects can be set but obviously these require more skill and dexterity than say a large beetle. Beetles tend to be somewhat easier to set as they have an exoskeleton which will tend to keep its shape better than say a butterfly or moth which has no exoskeleton.
4. The first stage of the insect display preparation process is known as "relaxing". There are several different methods of relaxing a specimen, most of which take around 24 hours. One quicker method, used for butterflies and moths, involves injecting the thorax of the specimen with which substance?

Answer: Boiling water

This relaxing process reverses the stiffness of the specimen and allows it to be manipulated into place as it is set ready for display. During the slower method, an airtight box has a layer of damp tissue paper placed in the bottom, and the specimen, wrapped in thin paper to prevent water marks, is placed in the box. Water is misted into the box from a spray bottle, the lid is closed, and the specimen is left to absorb the water.

The time taken will vary from specimen to specimen, but can be up to 24 hours. By injecting boiling water into the thorax of the specimen before placing it in the damp atmosphere inside the relaxing box, this time can be cut to as little as 30 minutes for small specimens.
5. Dragonfly specimens are prepared for display in the same way as butterfly and beetle specimens.

Answer: False

Once a dragonfly specimen has been collected and killed, it will dry out like any other specimen, but a different method of preparation for display is required. The whole insect is immersed in white vinegar to relax it; this is a delicate process as if the specimen is soaked for too long, it will soften too much and bits may start to fall off. An experienced collector can judge their timing to a nicety.
Once removed from the vinegar, the specimen must be gently manipulated to stretch the wing muscles, before being pinned to a setting board and arranged. Dragonflies are set upside down relative to the collector, and are then either dried in a cabinet like butterflies or can be popped into the freezer to dry.
To restore the colours to a dried pinned dragonfly specimen, it is soaked in acetone, in an airtight container, for around 12 hours.
6. During the process of preparing a specimen for display, what would a butterfly collector do with a "pooter"?

Answer: Suck up insects too small to handle

A "pooter" is a nickname used for a small sucker or aspiration tube type device, used to manipulate tiny specimens which are too small or fragile to be moved and positioned by hand.
7. The largest species of butterfly yet discovered was first captured in 1906 in Papua New Guinea, and named for a member of the British Royal family. Which species is this?

Answer: Queen Alexandra's Birdwing

The female Ornithoptera alexandrae, or Queen Alexandra's Birdwing, can reach a wingspan somewhat larger than 12 inches across! The males are slightly smaller, but are beautifully coloured with green and blue iridescent wings and a bright yellow abdomen. The females have a less eye-catching brown colouration.
Queen Alexandra was the wife of King Edward VII.
The first ever documented specimen was caught by a naturalist called Albert Meek, who actually brought it down using a shotgun as he couldn't fit it into his net!
8. Some species of butterflies, and indeed other insects, are endangered and protected from collectors by law. Since the 1970s, trade in endangered species has been covered by CITES, the "Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora". By which other name are these regulations sometimes known?

Answer: Washington Convention

The international talks and agreements which finally led to the adoption of CITES were held in Washington DC in 1973.
Many butterfly collections were compiled during the Victorian era in the nineteenth century, and contain specimens of now extinct or highly endangered species. Trade in these collections is permitted and rare, well preserved specimens can fetch prices in excess of one thousand dollars for just one butterfly!
9. The Rothschild Brothers were very famous naturalists in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Many species of flora and fauna are named after them, and they used their extensive family fortune to amass definitive wildlife collections, including a butterfly collection which is now part of the Natural History Museum's Rothschild-Cockayne-Kettlewell Collection. What were their first names?

Answer: Walter and Charles

The majority of the various Rothschild collections now form a large number of exhibits at the Natural History Museum in London.
In 2009 an extensive and important butterfly collection, donated to Harrow school by Charles, was auctioned off to raise funds for the school.
The younger brother, Charles, was also a pioneer of the practice of nature conservation, in an age when most people never even thought about such things.
It was in 1947 that the Natural History Museum amalgamated their three most important collections of Lepidoptera and formed the Rothschild-Cockayne-Kettlewell Collection.
10. Which of these is NOT one of the three Superfamilies of butterflies?

Answer: Tipulidae

The Tipulidae are crane flies, often called daddy-long-legs in the UK.
Within the order Lepidoptera, the Papilionoidea or true butterflies, Hesperioidea or skippers, and Hedyloidea or moth-butterflies Superfamilies are butterflies, and all other lepidopterans are moths.
Source: Author Rowena8482

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