Utah Lepidopterists' Society

Founded 6 Nov 1976

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Ken Tidwell Donates Personal Collection to BYU's Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum!!



The Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum at Brigham Young University, in Provo, Utah, houses the largest butterfly in the state of Utah; perhaps even in the world.  With a wingspan of 5 feet, 8 inches, displaying bold patterns of brilliant colors and one very large blue eyespot on each hindwing, this butterfly is unlike any other.  While most butterflies get their beautiful colors from a covering of hundreds of overlapping powdery scales, this large specimen is made from hundreds of actual butterflies!

The butterflies come from a portion of the Kenneth B. Tidwell collection recently donated to the museum's entomology section.  His donation totaled nearly 12,000 mounted and papered  specimens that Ken and his wife Donna collected from all over the world during the past 50 years.

According to Dr. Shawn M. Clark, collections manager at the museum, the actual idea on how to showcase the butterflies came from Emily Bybee, a student from Timpview High School.  Emily works as a volunteer  in the entomology section of the museum.  Museum artist Randy Baker designed and put together the popular display with the help of many volunteers.  The large butterfly resides on the main floor of the museum along with several other new insect displays.

Most of Ken Tidwell's donated butterflies will be incorporated into the museum's insect collection which already houses over 2 million specimens.  There is much work ahead for the museum staff in sorting and cataloguing the butterflies into their proper taxonomic groups, including substantial volunteer mounting efforts by ULS member Vernon E. Evans, so they can be made available for study by visiting researchers.

The collection has "excellent scientific value," according to Dr. Richard Baumann, curator of insects at the museum.  "Much of the value is due to the fine work of Ken Tidwell in properly labeling the specimens with dates, locations and identification.  Without the labels, the beautiful specimens would have little scientific value," added Dr. Clark.

The collection contains some very interesting, unusually patterned, aberrant butterflies of several different species.  "One species of swallowtail collected by Ken in Latin America was the first known, completely intact, specimen of its kind," said Dr. Clark.

Congratulations to long time Utah Lepidopterists' Society member Kenneth B. Tidwell for the generous donation of his collection to the Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum.

Alan R. Myrup

Editor--Utah Lepidopterist

Closer shot of Ken's giant butterfly as assembled by staff of the Monte L. Bean Life Science Museum.  For even closer detail, click here. Part of Ken's Exhibit illustrating basic differences between butterflies and moths.  Click above or here to enhance readability of picture text.

All images of Limenitis weidemeyeri on the ULS Info Bar courtesy Jay Cossey


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