Danish Butterfly Atlas

 A project to communicate the importance of scientific collections and motivate the public to learn about scientific collecting and the preservation of specimens.

The Danish Butterfly Atlas, www.sommerfugleatlas.dk, is a national online atlas aimed at mapping the distribution of butterfly species in Denmark. One function of the atlas is to distribute existing data based on the collections of the Natural History Museum, Aarhus, but the public is also encouraged to collect specimens of non-endangered insect species (not just butterflies) for the museum's collections.

Using an app for mobile devices (the NaturbasenApp), members of the public can upload precisely georeferenced observations of butterflies and other Danish insect species, which are then displayed on an interactive map.
Uploads made to the fugleognatur.dk website are also linked to the atlas. Some species are even identified by the public in an online forum.

The Natural History Museum, Aarhus focused on butterflies because they are an excellent general indicator of the state of nature. As soon as the great demands butterflies put on their habitat are altered, the species can become endangered and hence indicate a change in nature that can serve as a warning.

The project enables the development of the collection and emphasises its importance to society through engagement with the public.

Sommerfugleatlas online

Natural History Museum, Aarhus

Find the Danish Butterfly Atlas and other examples in NEMO's publication "Museums' 4 Values - Values 4 Museums"!
Please note that in the printed publication the Statens Naturhistoriske Museum is falsy indicated as the main initiator of this project. It is in fact the Natural History Museum, Aarhus. We apologize for the false information.



  • The map shows where a selected species was found

    There is a small image of the species on the side. By clicking on the image the visitor can access further information. The different colours of the squares indicate the diversity in the area (ranging from blue, which indicates less than 5 species to red and purple representing more than 20 species).
    Screenshot of the Website from March 2015, Public Domain
  • A peacock butterfly

    Inachis io, photographed by a user
    Photo: Morten DD Hansen, 2014 CC BY
  • Common blue

    Polyommatus icarus, photographed by a user
    Photo: Morten DD Hansen, 2014 CC BY