FAIRBANKS — The insect collection at the University of Alaska Museum of the North is fairly new. It began in 2000 with money from the National Science Foundation. Before scientists began systematically collecting and cataloging specimens from Alaska, not much was known about the state’s smallest residents. Except for the butterflies.
For decades, Kenelm Philip had been collecting them in Alaska, intent on solving the great butterfly mystery. Every year he returned to his favorite spots along the highways and in the boreal forests of Alaska. He drove a yellow pickup with an “INSECT” license plate. He founded the Alaska Lepidoptera Survey and amassed the second-largest collection of arctic butterflies and moths in the world — more than 83,000.
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