A glimpse at Cal Academy's butterfly collection and a discussion about why these butterfly collections are important to science Do you like butterflies and moths? I certainly do. When I was a graduate student, part of my graduate training was invested in studying moths. So captivated by moths and butterflies was I that I seriously considered devoting my professional career to studying them. But butterflies and moths -- the lepidopterans -- are more than just pretty insects that pollinate plants. They are important research subjects that provide valuable glimpses into evolutionary processes. They provide scientists with important insights into sexual selection, speciation, and the relationship between ecology and evolution and between genetics and evolution. One important resource for studying lepidopterans is museum collections. The California Academy of Sciences is home to the largest collection of biological reference materials west of the Mississippi. Dating back over 100 years, the collection...
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