All images are the
property of Adrian Hoskins unless otherwise stated. Most images
are available for sale as high resolution originals. Images or
text must not be published elsewhere in part or in whole without
prior written consent. For details of reproduction fees, please
Copyright and Fees page.
About Butterflies: the complete guide to the world of
butterflies and moths, www.learnaboutbutterflies.com
[page/section name], last accessed [date].
that the taxonomy indicated on this website has not been updated
since 2012. For the most up to date taxonomic data please refer
to my book Butterflies of the World, published by Reed
New Holland, and available from Amazon, NHBS, Foyles, Pemberley,
Waterstones, WHSmith and most other good book shops.
This website is comprised of over 2000 pages of information and
over 5000 images, all made freely available to the public.
Donations, large or small, are gratefully received. You can make
donations to my PayPal account:
A few words
about the webmaster - Adrian Hoskins
Hi, I'm Adrian
Hoskins: entomologist, photographer, writer and wildlife tour
My passion for butterflies and nature in general has taken me on
many travels. As a lad I explored most of Britain by motorbike.
Later I spent 5 or 6 years travelling around Europe with a
particular fondness for the beautiful French Alps. I had however
always dreamt about visiting the tropics, so I saved long and
hard and in 1991 I was able to to participate in a 'once in a
lifetime' wildlife safari in Tanzania. The idea was to see and
photograph the 'big game' animals, but I found myself taking
more photos of butterflies than of lions or elephants!
The urge to explore took me the following year to Trinidad where
I found myself awestruck by the rainforest and its infinite
wonders. I saw my first Morphos, Daggerwings, Glasswings,
Heliconiines and Owl butterflies - species that I had dreamt
about since childhood. I found the whole rainforest experience
overwhelming. The hummingbirds and oropendolas, the haunting
siren wail of cicadas, the high pitched chirping of thousands of
tiny frogs, and best of all my 'discovery' of the incredible
moth Siculodes aurorula will stay
in my mind until the day I die - irreplaceable memories that
make the material things in life pale into insignificance.
THYRIDIDAE, Arima valley,
Trinidad, April 1992
For the last 20 years I've been
very privileged to be able to spend time studying and
photographing the stunning butterflies found in the rainforests,
cloudforests and grasslands of Costa Rica, Trinidad, Brazil,
Venezuela, Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, Kenya, Ghana, India, Sri
Lanka, West Malaysia and Borneo. Additionally I try to spend at
least 2 or 3 weeks each year in Europe, visiting countries
including France, Spain, Switzerland, Italy, Estonia, Serbia,
Macedonia and Turkey.
My personal 'life list' currently
stands at 3177 species, which amounts to about one sixth
of the total number of known species worldwide. I go to great
lengths to ensure that every species is accurately identified.
This necessitates photographing both wing surfaces of each
species and meticulously cross-checking the photographs with
several resources. In the case of 'difficult' species I'm very
fortunate to have a small army of colleagues with expertise in
particular tribes or genera, who I can turn to for assistance. I
should make it clear however that accumulating species lists is
a very minor aspect of my entomology. What excites me most is
capturing the beauty and character of each species on camera,
discovering as much as I can about their behaviour and ecology,
and sharing my passion for butterflies with others.
Despite my great love of the
tropics, there are few things more precious to me than the
pleasure of rambling on the heaths or exploring the ancient
woodlands of the New Forest in Hampshire, strolling across the
chalk grasslands of Dorset, wandering through the beautiful
woodlands of West Sussex, Lancashire and Cumbria, or enjoying
the stunning landscapes of the Scottish Highlands.
are you interested in butterflies?"
I'm not just
'interested' in butterflies, I love them. I can't find words
adequate enough to describe my passion for these incredibly
beautiful insects so perhaps the best way to answer the question
is for me to quote the legendary explorer and naturalist Alfred
Russell Wallace, who in his book The Malay Archipelago wrote the
my very first walk into the forest at Batchian, I had seen
sitting on a leaf out of reach an immense butterfly of a dark
colour marked with white and yellow spots. I could not capture
it as it flew away high up into the forest, but I at once saw
that it was a female of a new species of
Ornithoptera or 'bird-winged
butterfly', the pride of the Eastern tropics.
very anxious to get it and to find the male which in this
genus is always of extreme beauty. During the two succeeding
months I only saw it once again, and shortly afterwards I saw
the male flying high in the air at the mining village. I had
begun to despair of ever getting a specimen as it seemed so
rare and wild; until one day about the beginning of January, I
found a beautiful shrub with large white leafy bracts and
yellow flowers, a species of Mussaenda,
and saw one of these noble insects hovering over it, but it
was too quick for me, and flew away."
The next day I
went again to the same shrub and succeeded in catching a
female, and the day after a fine male. I found it to be as I
had expected, a perfectly new and most magnificent species and
one of the most gorgeously coloured butterflies in the world.
Fine specimens of the male are more than seven inches across
the wings, which are velvety black and fiery orange, the
latter colour replacing the green of the allied species.
beauty and brilliancy of this insect are indescribable and
none but a naturalist can understand the intense excitement I
experienced when I at length captured it. On taking it out of
my net and opening the glorious wings, my heart began to beat
violently, the blood rushed to my head, and I felt much more
like fainting than I have done when in apprehension of
immediate death. I had a headache the rest of the day, so
great was the excitement produced by what will appear to most
people a very inadequate cause."
The butterfly discovered and
described by Wallace Ornithoptera
croesus is illustrated below:
did you create this website?"
Firstly I wanted a receptacle for my photographs and knowledge
- a means of archiving what I've seen and learned, and passing
it on to share with others. Secondly I wanted a tool to
promote the conservation of butterflies, moths and their
habitats - particularly the irreplaceable rainforests of
Amazonia, Africa and south-east Asia. I hope that by
encouraging an interest in butterflies via my website and
books, that others will also feel the urge to protect these
incredible habitats which are disappearing so rapidly from our
Details of ways you can help can be found in the
section. For more information about my personal
aims and philosophy, please see the
Code of Practice page, which
covers subjects including collecting, introductions and