Butterfly and Moth Specimens at the Angela Marmont Centre for UK Biodiversity, Natural History Museum, London By The Nature Collection for British Wildlife

Cover photo shows the face of an Elephant hawk-moth

A selection of photos of UK butterflies and moths, combining photos taken in the field, with photos of specimens in the Angela Marmont Centre, at the Natural History Museum, London.

The high quality photos which show incredible detail, were taken using the photo stacking equipment in the Visitor Centre at the Angela Marmont Centre for UK Biodiversity. Huge thanks to the staff at the Centre for their help and endless patience.

The stacking photos were taken for educational purposes, to be shown in primary school workshops, which focused on local wildlife.

Natural History Museum cases of Blue, Hairstreak and Copper butterflies in the UK

Blue Butterflies

Adonis blue butterfly

Museum case: Males on left and females on right, plus caterpillar skin and cocoon at the top. Topside at the top, underside below

Main photo shows part of the wing of a male butterfly: microscopic, overlapping scales on the upper side of the wing

Common blue butterfly

Museum case: Male (left )and female (right), caterpillar skin and cocoon at the top

Main photo shows a male butterfly, the microscopic scales and hairs at the edge of the wing, on the underside. The scales are the beautiful, colourful, butterfly-equivalent of hairs.

Male, showing the topside of wings
Male, underside of wings
Female, topside of wings
Antenna covered in iridescent scales, under a stereo microscope
Cream and blue wing scales on the topside, taken through a microscope

Chalkhill blue butterfly

Main photo shows the underside of a male butterfly: the wings covered in overlapping, microscopic scales and hairs, the long, thin, hairy body and the spiky legs, with claws.

Museum case: Chalkhill blue butterflies, males on left and females on right, topside and underside, below plus caterpillar skin
Male specimen, showing the underside
Chalkhill blue butterfly on bramble
Soft, delicate wings and striped antennae
Male and female, mating, undersides of the wings are visible.
Painted lady butterfly, underneath the head. Very hairy eyes, long palps, coiled tongue, antennae and wings, both covered in scales
Painted lady, wing scales, close up!
Top side of wings
Arriving on the beach in Dorset, after migrating from mainland Europe
On Portland, Dorset, showing the underside of wings
Museum case of Painted lady butterflies, males at top and females below, topside then underside, caterpillar skin and cocoon.

Elephant Hawk-moth

Museum specimen

Museum case of elephant hawkmoth specimens, caterpillar skins and cocoon

Beautiful, golden, compound eyes and pink hairs!! Who knew moths could be glamorous?

Museum case of Fritillary butterflies, plus others, in the UK

Dark Green Fritillary

Photo shows the head from underneath, with huge, compound eyes, hairy palps, coiled tongue, antennae, spiky legs and wings covered in scales

Museum case: Dark green fritillary butterflies, male then female butterflies, top side then underside, plus the caterpillar skin

Dark green fritillary

Underneath the head: hairy palps, coiled tongue, compound eyes, legs covered in microscopic scales and antennae

In Richmond Park

Scales at the edge of the wing

Mix of cocoons for sale at the Amateur Entomology Fair, held every year in October at Kempton Park, Surrey

Buff-tip Moth, wing

Buff-tip Moth

Wing scales, close up!

Scarlet tiger moth
Six-spot burnet moth; a day-flying moth!
Six-spot burnet moths at Portland, Dorset

Emperor moth

Museum case containing the caterpillar skin, female and then smaller, male moth
The male has large, hairy antennae to pick up the scent of the female
Caterpillar at Thursley
Hairy wing scales under a stereo microscope

Red Admiral

Museum case, Red admiral males then females, topside then underside, caterpillar skin and cocoon
Resting in the sun
On wood
Wing scales on the forewing, near the head, taken through my stereo microscope
Iridescent wing scales under the microscope
Wing tip, stereo microscope
Underside of the wing, through the stereo microscope

Peacock butterfly

Main photo taken at home.

On narcissus
On gorse
Museum case of butterfly and caterpillar skin
The 'eye' on the wing, through a stereo microscope
Iridescent scales in the 'eye'
Golden scales at the inner edge of the hind wing
Scattered gold in the centre of the wings
Colourful scales near the top corner of the fore wing
Iridescent scales on the antenna

I am Susanna Ramsey and I have a unique collection of natural history objects relating to British Wildlife. Over the last ten years, I have assembled an extensive range of skulls, skeletons, bones, skins, feathers, wings, antlers, insect specimens and taxidermy, all from animals in the UK.

During 2010-2018, I took my Nature Collection into local primary schools to display and run workshops for the children, linking the exhibition to science topics in the National Curriculum such as Adaptations, Bones, Classification, Food Webs, Habitats, Life Cycles and Local Wildlife.

In 2018-2020, I worked with the leading schools' catalogue, TTS ,to create a range of Educational Resources for primary schools, nurseries, after school clubs and families. There are Look & Learn Cards for British Birds, Mammals and Minibeasts, a Food Webs Activity Pack, Classification Packs for Natural History & British Wildlife, Animal Discovery Bags for exciting wildlife trails, Playground Signboards and Identification Wheels. To find out more, click here.

In the school workshops, children and teachers were always completely fascinated to discover more about the animals which live in our gardens or local parks. On these web pages, I want to continue to share my enthusiasm for our local wildlife.

Exhibits and Thanks

Almost all of the animals in my collection were either found by myself, Susanna Ramsey, or donated by friends and family to The Nature Collection, as an educational resource. Huge thanks for all the tiny, carefully-wrapped bundles of feathers and bones, to Steve and Sam Read, John Lock, Chris Matcham, Franko Maroevic, Tim Howard, Jan Wilczur, Simon Richards, Peter Veniard, Paula Redmond, Phil Davis, Bob & Sally Black, Jo & Frank Sheppard and Katie Ramsey. Many of these people are naturalists and experts in their field; I am indebted to them too, for all that they have taught me about our local wildlife.

Over the years, I have been lucky enough to be a regular visitor to the Angela Marmont Centre for UK Biodiversity at the Natural History Museum, London. The unimaginably-vast collection of British insect specimens, stored in row upon row, of metal, floor-to-ceiling cabinets has been a massive inspiration to me. There is something infinitely satisfying about the way every species has its own box, within a drawer, within a cabinet and that each can be found within minutes, by the care and expertise of the staff. To witness the incredible number of UK species of moth, beetle, butterfly, fly, grasshopper etc, is simply mind blowing and I feel so privileged to be able to visit and photograph some of the specimens!

I have used the photo stacking equipment at the Angela Marmont Centre to take highly-detailed photos of some of the specimens to put into slideshows for my primary school workshops. When I was young, I always wanted to be an archaeologist and it was my ambition to work in a museum; to sit in the Centre, using the equipment and handling the specimens, listening to the chatter of the experts at work, has been a dream come true. I am so grateful to the staff at the Centre for their encouragement and for always making me feel so welcome.

Thanks also to Tonja Grung, of Made from the Dead Taxidermy, for sharing her incredible knowledge, patience and skill. I will never forget our amazing sessions on animal taxidermy.

The delicate skeletons were cleaned to perfection by a colony of flesh-eating, dermestid beetles, skilfully managed by Edward de Geer.

So much still to discover!

The above photo shows some of the 40 photo cards in the Classification:Natural History pack. Facts and size are shown on the back of each card. (See below.)


If you know children who are interested in nature, are a teacher, or would like to learn more about British Wildlife yourself, explore the range of British Wildlife products recently created by The Nature Collection and the leading schools' catalogue, TTS.

The Classification: Natural History pack features 40 small photos of animal skeletons, skulls, feathers, insect specimens and much more, all from The Nature Collection!

The products are perfect for use in primary schools, nurseries, after school clubs, forest schools or at home with friends and family. Click on the links below to find out about each product.

Look & Learn Cards: British Birds, Mammals, Minibeasts

Food Webs Activity Pack

Classification: British Wildlife & Natural History

Identification Wheels: British Birds, Mammals & Minibeasts

Discovery Bags: British Birds, Mammals, Minibeasts

Playground Signboards: Birds, Mammals, Minibeasts

Created By
Susanna Ramsey


Susanna Ramsey