The UMMZ Insect Division just acquired Paul and Virginia Howcroft’s beautifully preserved insect collection. The generous collection donation spans 17 display cases containing over a 150 specimens of butterflies, beetles, and more.  All of these specimens are from the mid 1960-70’s and where obtained from many places around the world including North America, South America, Central America, Africa, and Asia. 

This collection highlights some of the amazing and stunningly beautiful diversity found in insects. Many of the donated display cases will be used for educational purposes during outreach events, tours, and other scholastic activities. These specimens will be housed at the RMC and are available for academic research purposes. 

About Paul Howcroft:

I grew up on a farm in Troy, Michigan, along with my six older siblings.  Occasionally on a summer night, a Saturnidae moth would come to the light of our window.  Sometimes it was a Cecropia, or a Polyphemus, or the Io, and now and then the mysterious Luna moth.  They seemed impossible, mythic, with their astonishing shapes, display of pattern and their colors.  They taught me how to see.  Over the past several years I have relied on these early impressions to explore connections between abstract art and mathematics, as a sort of avocation.  I am not a scientist; my formal education is in the fields of economics and finance.  My insect collecting ended in the early 1970’s when environmental threats to these invertebrates became apparent.  Virginia and I have traveled to the rain and cloud forests of Central and South America, where in Peru we walked along the Inca Trail, high above the Urumbamba river, when a Morpho Sulkowskyi butterfly flew over the pathway in front of us.  The experience was reminiscent of the Luna moth at my window decades earlier.