Light Touch: an exhibition of exquisite photographs of butterflies and moths

Light Touch is an exhibition of exquisite photographs of butterflies and moths from the Museum’s collection.
by Katherine Child. Please browse the images below or download an exhibition leaflet.

Antigonis felderi

Antigonis felderi, Bates 1864: from the largest family of butterflies, the Nymphalidae, which are often brightly coloured, although some species have a duller underwing.

Sarosa xanthobasis

Sarosa xanthobasis, Druce 1898
A member of the Arctiinae subfamily of moths. In North American folklore it is believed that the worse the coming weather, the darker the black markings on the larva of certain species of Arctiinae.




Imbrasia eblis

Imbrasia eblis, Strecker 1836
This Saturniid moth’s spots are a form of natural mimicry, evolved to resemble the eyes of another creature to scare or deflect predators. These spots allow the moth to look like the face of an owl.






Imbrasia eblis

Eusemia conferta, Walker 1865
This specimen was collected in 1864 by Alfred Russel Wallace, a prominent British naturalist, explorer and biologist who conceived - independently of Charles Darwin - the idea of evolution through natural selection.




Lyssa boops

Lyssa boops (Westwood 1879)
Collected by Alfred Russel Wallace, this specimen was used by the first Hope Professor at Oxford University Museum of Natural History, John Obadiah Westwood, to describe the species.






Argina pulchra

Argina pulchra, Swinhoe 1892
This brightly coloured male is from the Arctiinae subfamily of moths, but others are comparatively dull. Colonel Charles Swinhoe, who described this species, spent many years arranging, cataloguing and describing exotic moths from the Museum’s collections.




Charaxes eudoxus kateræl

Charaxes eudoxus kateræl, Carpenter 1937
Part of the family Nymphalidae, one of the largest in the Lepidoptera order of moths and butterflies. This specimen was used by Geoffrey Hale Carpenter to describe the species.






Coleliades immaculata

Coleliades immaculata, Carpenter 1935
This brilliant blue skipper butterfly was collected along the Alanga River in Ethiopia. It is a type specimen described by Geoffrey HaleCarpenter, who studied African Lepidoptera obsessively, investigating how bird predators shaped butterfly mimicry patterns.




Calisto anegadensis

Calisto anegadensis
Smith, Miller & McKenzie 1991
A Satyr butterfly endemic to the British Virgin Islands. This specimen was collected by David Spencer Smith. The Museum collections contain several cabinets of Neotropical specimens collected by Spencer Smith, many of which include species endemic to different Caribbean islands.






Anaea kingi

Anaea kingi, Miller & Nicolay 1971
Butterflies from the genus Anaea are called ‘tropical leafwings’ because the undersides of their wings resemble dried leaves, as you can see. This male was collected in 1970 from Cerro Campana, Panama by H. L. King.








Papilio krishna

Papilio krishna, Moore 1857
This swallowtail butterfly was collected in 1913 in Kabru, Manipur, India by Major General Sir H. C. Tytler. The Hope Entomological Collections contain more than a thousand butterflies collected by Tytler, mainly from Burma and India.







Morpho menelaus

Morpho menelaus, Le Moult 1925
This Morpho butterfly was described by Eugène Le Moult, who collected it in the Orinoco Delta in Venezuela in 1925. Le Moult’s two volume Les Morpho d’Amérique du Sud et Centrale, Paris 1962-1963 is considered to be one of the most important works on the Morphinae subfamily.






Arcas gozmanyi

Arcas gozmanyi, Balint 2006
This species comes in many variations, with colours ranging from golden to blue to the metallic green seen here. This is a type specimen from the Lycaenidae family, many of which have symbiotic relationships with ants. In some species the larvae are protected by ants which in turn feed on the caterpillars’ honeydew.






Decachorda rosea

Decachorda rosea, Aurivillius 1898
A Rose Silk Moth from the family Saturniidae, which includes some of the world’s largest moths. Although Saturniids are not related to true silk moths, the caterpillars of most species spin silken cocoons which are still gathered by people to make silk fabric.





Diaethria phlogea

Diaethria phlogea (Salvin & Godman 1868)
Named the 89/98 butterfly due to the characteristic pattern on the underside of the hind wing. It is a common feature within the genus Diaethria to have black dots surrounded by concentric black and white lines.






Deilephila elpenor

Deilephila elpenor (Linnaeus 1746)
This strikingly-coloured Elephant Hawk-moth has a wide distribution throughout Europe and Asia. The larva of this species has a long trunk-shaped anterior (front), and it is this ‘trunk’ which gives the moth its name, rather than its size.

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