Extinct British Large Copper Butterfly, Lycaena dispar dispar (JPEG)
Male and female specimens of the extinct British Large Copper, Lycaena dispar dispar. This butterfly is the first known (globally) to have been finally exterminated by over-collecting, after years of gradual decline in its numbers due to habitat destruction (drainage of the fens). First discovered in 1797/1798, the last remaining specimens were collected at Holm Fen, Huntingdonshire, during the period 1847-1848 and Bottisham Fen in 1851. (There are also in existence two dubiously-labelled specimens allegedly collected in 1860 and 1864). The two shown here were collected at Holm Fen in 1840 and are in remarkably good condition considering their age! Both are mounted on short, hand-made (bronze?) pins, and are "saddle" set i.e. mounted in such a way that the body is raised above the wings, which therefore droop (as was the custom during the 19th century). Two highly-prized specimens, for which I am proud to be the custodian for (hopefully) the next 20 or 30 years, or so!
(Watermark will be removed from purchased image).