Recently, I spent an enjoyable day at the Bristol museum. The staff were very kind and most helpful. While the many visitors enjoyed the splendid natural History, Archaeological and Art displays, I was deep in the basement exploring the collections for my study. I shared my study table with the skeletons of three huge mammoth heads, one complete with tusks. The collections were very fine and well preserved. More on the museum later.
Here is one of the drawers, part of Ian Heslop's magnificent collection of Purple Emperor's - Apatura iris. Heslop was one of the greatest British collectors of the 20th century. All those shown here were self caught, mostly during the 1950s in South Wiltshire. I believe dunc will especially enjoy this.
The Drepanidae ( Hook-tips) are an interesting moth family with around 400 species worldwide. Eight species occur in Europe and seven of these are found in the British Isles.
This superb cabinet drawer, with immaculate specimens are from the Charles Barlett collection. The Barlett collection was presented to the Museum at the end of WWII . During WWII the original museum building was bombed and most of its lepidoptera collections were destroyed . Here are all the British species of Drepanidae, including the rare Sabra harpagula ( Scarce Hook Tip).
The star specimens in this box are those 39 Sabra harpagula from Leigh Woods in the Avon Gorge near Bristol where it is now thought to be extinct. The is the finest British series in existence. The last records of this moth in Leigh Woods were from 1938. The moth extinction a Leigh Woods is thought to have been caused by the use of the foodplant, mature Small- leaved Lime trees ( Tilia cordata) for fire wood during WWII. Always a rarity, this species survives in Britain in the Wye Valley on the Welsh borders.