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How to spread a butterfly ?

In this blog post, you will find a video and useful tips to perfectly mount butterflies.

Why you should learn how to mount a butterfly ?

Mounting a butterfly is a key technique you must masterize in order to build a nice insect collection. Knowing how to spread butterfly will be very useful : 

- to spread the butterfly you collect yourself,

- to buy papered butterflies which are cheaper than spread butterflies

- to display a collection with perfectly spread butterflies. 

It is not an easy technique but with a bit of practice, you will rapidly masterize it. 


Which material do you need to spread a butterfly ?

To spread butterflies, you need the following material :

- a spreading-board,

- entomological forceps,

- entomological pins,

- glassine pinning strips,

- a fresh or well-relaxed butterfly.


Butterfly mounting technique
Mounting of a Delias niepelti butterfly


How to mount a butterfly ?

The various steps to spread a butterfly

1/ check that the butterfly is fresh or well-relaxed. Fresh butterflies have been caught within the day. Well-relaxed butterflies have been placed in a rehydrating chamber for few days. To check if they are relaxed enough, try to open their wings completely with a forcep. If wings are not flexible enough, don't try to spread that butterfly, you would ruin it !

2/ take the butterfly between thumb and index and introduce a stainless entomological pin of appropriate size right through the center of the thorax perpandiculary to his body

3/ place the butterfly in the center of the spreading board groove

4/ push the wings towards the board and maintain them by pinning a glassine strip above and below the wings. 

5/ with a forcep or a very thin entomological pin, push the forewing up, in order to have a perfect 90-degree angle between the body and the inner margin of the forewing, 

6/ same method to push the hindwing up,

7/ maintain the wings by pinning a glassine strip around them, 

8/ once spread, keep the spreading board in a dry room for 3 weeks,

9/ remove the pins and glassine strips after 3 weeks,

10/ put the butterfly 3 days into the freezer before adding it to your collection (dermestidae may have lay eggs on your specimen during the 3-week drying time).


How to spread a butterfly in video

There are several videos of butterfly mounting on Youtube. Some are good, some are very bad ... this one is excellent and will help you understand the various steps of butterfly spreading :

4 key rules to remember to perfectly spread a butterfly

1/ use a well-relaxed butterfly,

2/ pin it perpandiculary to its body,

3/ the forewing inner margin must make a 90-degree angle with the body,

4/ never pin the wings ! It would make some awful little holes in the butterfly wings. 





How to spread butterfly
Mounting of an Agrias phalcidon fournierae female


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