There are now up to 140,000 species of butterflies and moths forming one of the largest orders of insects with many new species discovered each year.  The challenge is to protect them while alive and preserve them in death.

The butterfly has a very short lifespan and so specimens must be preserved

The contradiction may be that the people who love butterflies the most are ones who stick pins in them and display them in glass boxes. These butterflies can be seen by the public at an exhibition in Tralee, County Kerry which ran from 7 to 12 May.

Exhibition curator John Laverty explains the delicate process for preserving butterflies and is clear that there is no cruelty caused to the butterfly as it is pinned after its death. 

We use these to highlight how beautiful butterflies are. 

While the old image is of butterfly catchers running through fields with big nets, nowadays 90 per cent of butterflies come from butterfly farms. Catchers only use a net to capture breeding stock which they want to protect. 

Mr Laverty strongly opposes habitat destruction and the free use of pesticides which put the butterflies under threat. 

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 15 May 1984. The reporter is Andrew Kelly.