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The Wonderful World of Insects

Insect Collections Today

Museums and universities all around the world house amazing collections of preserved insects that they use for research and education. Some of them containing specimens over 100 years old!


A selection of hand drawn and coloured insects including beetles, grasshoppers, moths and butterflies
Hand-drawn Illustrations of Insects

Because we have such brilliant collections, that are mostly open to the public, we don’t need to catch and kill insects for collections nearly as much as used to be done.

The Victorians were particularly fond of building personal collections, but many of these have been donated to museums for everyone to enjoy.

The Leeds Discovery Centre, for example, has nearly 100 cabinets, with almost 1500 drawers of insects in its entomology collection, and each draw can hold hundreds of individual specimens! This collection, and many others around the country are accessible to everyone for learning and getting up close to some really beautiful bugs indeed.


Colour photograph of a set of drawers, one of which is open showing the butterflies inside
Butterfly Specimens at Leeds Discovery Centre

Sometimes, though, you can learn a lot from observing insects in the wild, buzzing and crawling around and going about their lives. What flowers are the bees pollinating? Where are these ants taking their food? What is that dragonfly hunting? All these questions and more can be answered by spending some time looking at the world around you.