What Do Butterflies Tell Us About Our Environment?

With preserved insects from around the planet, the E.H. Strickland Entomological Museum is an invaluable resource for researchers, students, and naturalists as it houses more than one million specimens. Butterflies and moths are fascinating to naturalists and the public at large, who like to identify them. Consequently, butterflies and moths are relatively well-documented in Alberta, which makes them a very useful resource for ecologists and conservation biologists who use them as indicator species for habitat changes and diversity patterns. Because of their perennial appeal to naturalists, butterflies and moths have been collected in Alberta for more than a century, and these collections provide an informative window into the past. While the specimens in the photo are from the Czech Republic, they are just one of the over 100 species of moths and butterflies in the E.H. Strickland Entomological Museum.

Photo Credit:

Peacock Butterfly (Aglais io)

University of Alberta E.H. Strickland Entomological Museum

Fast Facts:

  • The Entomology department was established by Dr. Edgar Harold Strickland in 1922 – shortly after, he established the entomology collection. 
  • Strickland wrote 60 entomological papers on history, life cycles, taxonomy and ecology of insects, as well as the adverse effects of DDT. 
  • The E.H. Strickland Entomological Museums has the largest collection of Mexican ground beetles in the world (60,000 specimens).
  • The Collection is housed in about 2,300 wooden, glass topped drawers.