About me

Copyright: 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 Images or text must not be published elsewhere in part or in whole without prior written consent.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 visit the Copyright and Fees page.
Citations: Hoskins. A, Learn About Butterflies: the complete guide to the world of butterflies and moths, www.learnbutterflies.com [page/section name], last accessed [date].Please note 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.

Donations: 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: [email protected]. Thank you.

A few words about the webmaster

– Adrian Hoskins FRES [email protected]

Adrian%20CH389 001a - Learn Butterflies

Hi, I’m Adrian Hoskins: entomologist, photographer, writer and wildlife tour leader.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.Siculodes aurorula 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.

Why 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 following:”During 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.

I was 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.

The 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:

croesus - Learn Butterflies

Why 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 planet.

Details of ways you can help can be found in the Rainforest section. For more information about my personal aims and philosophy, please see the Code of Practice page, which covers subjects including collecting, introductions and ecotourism.