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A few words about the creator of learnaboutbutterflies.com

Hi, I'm Adrian Hoskins. I live in Hampshire, on the south coast of England. Within a few miles of my home are a huge variety of butterfly habitats - forests, coppiced woodlands, grasslands, heaths, chalk quarries, meadows, farmland, Iron Age hill forts, riverbanks, sand dunes and sea cliffs - I've recorded 48 of the 65 British species within 30 miles of my home.
Photo by Sanduni Hoskins
In 1982, I became a founder member of the Hampshire branch of Butterfly Conservation. I retired from branch activities a few years ago to release time for family commitments, but served for several years on the branch committee and in various roles including Conservation Officer and Editor of the Annual Butterfly Report. I also devised the branch butterfly recording system which has since been adopted by the national organisation.
My passion for butterflies has taken me on many travels - as a lad I explored most of Britain by motorbike, then spent several years travelling around Europe, in particular the beautiful French Alps. I had however always dreamt about visiting the tropics so in 1990 I decided to go on a "once in a lifetime" safari in Tanzania. The idea was to see and photograph the lions, elephants and rhinos, but I found that I was using more film on butterflies than on mammals !
 
My next step was to visit the Arima valley in the northern range mountains of Trinidad. There I found myself awestruck by the rainforest and it's infinite wonders. I saw my first Morphos, Owl butterflies, Daggerwings, Glasswings and Heliconiines, not to mention hummingbirds, oropendolas, and a host of other avian delights. The haunting siren wail of cicadas, the high pitched chirping of thousands of tiny frogs, and my "discovery" of the incredible Siculodes aurorula were things that will stay in my mind until the day I die - irreplaceable memories that make material things in life pale into insignificance.

Siculodes aurorula THYRIDIDAE, Arima valley, Trinidad, April 1992

For the last 18 years I've been very privileged to be able to spend time studying and photographing the stunning butterflies found in the rainforests of Costa Rica, Trinidad, Brazil, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, Malaya, Borneo, India, Sri Lanka, Kenya and Ghana. I now research and lead butterfly watching holidays to many of these fabulous regions. A selection of Trip Reports are available.

My personal "life list" of butterflies, swollen by my latest tour of Malaysia, currently stands at 2230 verified species, and I go to considerable lengths contacting specialist taxonomists to ensure that all species are accurately identified. Accumulating species lists is however only a very minor part of my interest. What excites me most is capturing the beauty of butterflies and moths on camera, observing their behaviour, and discovering as much as I can about their ecology.

Tropical rainforests are full of beautiful butterflies, but rainy Britain still has much to offer !

This in my opinion is the most beautiful butterfly on Earth - the Peacock Inachis io

 

Despite my love of the tropics, there are few things more precious to me than the pleasure of walking in my local woodland Stansted Forest, or strolling around the heaths and chalk grassland habitats that lie within a few miles of my home in Hampshire. Most of the photographs of British butterflies which can be found on this website were taken within 20 miles of my home, and I strongly urge readers to get to know their local habitats intimately, and to participate in local conservation issues.

 

"Why are you interested in butterflies ?"
 
I'm not "interested" in butterflies, I love them. I cannot find words adequate to describe my passion for these incredibly beautiful creatures, so perhaps the best way of answering the question is 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; till 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 clay 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
 

 
"Why did you create this website ?"
Firstly I wanted to be able to communicate my passion for the natural world, and to stimulate a deeper interest in butterflies and the conservation of their habitats - particularly the rainforests. The role of the website is increasingly concerned with environmental and conservation issues, and I hope that by encouraging further interest in butterflies via my photographs and articles, that website visitors will also take a deeper interest in rainforest conservation, and take practical measures to help conserve them. Details of how you can help can be found on the Rainforest, Save the Rainforests, and Climate Change pages.
You can contact the various rainforest conservation organisations via the Links page.
Secondly, as an enthusiastic photographer and writer, I wanted to share a few of my images and experiences, and publish my occasional discoveries about butterfly ecology and behaviour.
I hope that you enjoy looking at the photographs, and that the articles inspire you to make discoveries of your own.
More information about the aims, methods and current status of the website can be found on the Website Status page, and the Code of Practice page provides details of the learnaboutbutterflies philosophy on subjects such as collecting, introductions, site publicity and ecotourism.

 

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All photographs, text & website design are the property of Adrian Hoskins unless otherwise stated, and are protected by Copyright. Photographs or text must not be published elsewhere in part or in whole without prior written consent of Adrian Hoskins.

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