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Data Portal

Explore and download the Museum’s research and collections data.


The iCollections dataset comprises the records of all the British and Irish butterfly specimens in the entomological collections of the Natural History Museum, London. iCollections was a project to develop protocols and procedures to undertake mass digitisation of specimens, in this case British and Irish Lepidoptera. A key aspect to the digitisation effort was to make data available to support topical research. In the case of iCollections this was looking at the effects of climate change on butterfly emergence times.

The dataset comprises records of 181,545 specimens each with an image, locality, collector and date of collection (if available). The dataset extends from 1819 until the 1980s. The majority of specimens were collected from southern England, particularly the counties around London, but also the New Forest, Torbay and the Lake District. In addition to wild caught specimens, there is a large number of specimens which were specifically bred to provide good examples of particular species.

Data and Resources

Cite this as

Gordon L J Paterson; Sara Albuquerque; Vladimir Blagoderov; Steve Brooks et al. (2016). Dataset: iCollections. Natural History Museum Data Portal (

Retrieved: 16:04 06 May 2021 (GMT)

Additional Info

Field Value
Author(s) Gordon L J Paterson; Sara Albuquerque; Vladimir Blagoderov; Steve Brooks et al.
Affiliation Natural History Museum London
Contributors Ben Scott (Natural History Museum London), Matt Woodburn (Natural History Museum London)
Temporal extent 1819 to present day
Update frequency Never
Last updated June 3, 2016
Last resource update June 3, 2016 (iCollections specimens)
Created June 3, 2016
License CC0-1.0