Walk into The House of Angostura in Trinidad and Tobago and you’ll find the expected: fermentation tanks, barrels of aging rum and busy workers. You’ll also find the unexpected: 8,000 butterflies, which greet visitors on the first stop of the Angostura Museum tour.
The butterflies are the legacy of Malcolm Barcant, a local lepidopterist who captured his first, a pink “Jaune d’ Abricot,” in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. He spent the next 50 years catching, cataloguing and preserving butterflies from all over the world. His collection contains some of the most rare, exotic and extraordinary, several of which are the only known of its kind and now bear Barcant’s name.
Barcant’s wife Jimmie often joined him in his quest to capture every butterfly in Trinidad. She would wear a blue dress to attract one of his favorites – the blue Morpho. Barcant’s affinity for the Morpho led him to cross-bread the Trinidad Morpho with species from other countries. Two years after his first attempt, Barcant successfully produced fertile offspring from a Trinidad female and male from Rio De Janeiro, Brazil.
The Barcant Butterfly Collection contains 615 species home to Trinidad and Tobago, where his ventures first began. Angostura Limited acquired the rare collection as in April 1974 and has displayed it in Laventille ever since.