About this site

Teifi Valley

Me in the Teifi Valley, Wales, doing a study of the Ringlet Aphantopus hyperantus in July 1983.

I first became interested in butterflies and moths when I was at primary school in inner London: in early September the flower beds were always brimming with Peacocks, Small Tortoiseshells and Red Admirals.  At other times of year the patches of waste ground nearby could also be full of surprises such as the distinctive black and yellow striped caterpillars of the Cinnabar Tyria jacobaeae
or the migratory hover fly Volucella zonaria.   

Since the summer of 2007 I have rediscovered my passion for these creatures: a remarkable trip to Spreewald, a patchwork of lakes and forests south of Berlin, suddenly and unexpectedly opened my eyes again to the fascinating beauty and variety of butterflies, moths, dragonflies, beetles and other insects. Using a small compact camera with a macro facility for the first time I began to record what I saw and also make contact with specialist websites to help with identification.

If we consider the geographical entity of Europe to extend east to the Ural mountains but exclude Turkey and North Africa then over 8,470 species of butterflies and moths have been recorded with occasional additions still being made in south-west Europe, and especially in the relatively understudied parts of south-east Europe.  Over time I hope to present about a quarter of these species, including many examples of the so-called "microlepidoptera", but my coverage will inevitably be somewhat uneven:  I envisage that the larger and more strikingly marked groups will be better represented whilst some of the smallest and most inconspicuous groups of species will only be very partially covered.  Some other families such as the wasp-mimicking Sesiidae are notoriously elusive so finding any examples is always a cause of great excitement!

The site would not have been possible without the advice, generosity and enthusiasm of many people.  In particular I would like to thank Daniel Bartsch, Yasminah Beebeejaun, Peter Buchner, Tony Butler, Teresa Farino, Michael Fibiger, Jörg Gelbrecht, Robin Howard, Harri Jalavi, Ole Karsholt, Gang-li Kim, Claudio Labriola, Mario Langourov, Alexandr Lvovsky, Paolo Mazzei, Russel Miller, Vladimir Mironov, Umberto Parenti, Colin Plant, Victor Redondo, Axel Steiner, Dave Shenton, Jon Stokes, and José Yela.  The site was designed by Corinna Reetz.  Any remaining errors with identification, spelling or site organization are my own!