Arguably the best-known Lepidopterist in the world, historian and philosopher of science, Bernard d’Abrera, has over a period of nearly 45 years produced 34 volumes dedicated to the taxonomy of the butterflies and larger moths of the world. His Lepidoptera books comprise taxonomic text of over 7 million words, illustrated with over 70,000 specimen pictures (natural size and in full colour), over approximately 9,500 pages.
Of that number, 24 volumes have been specifically dedicated to the taxonomy of the true butterflies (Superfamily Papilionoidea) of the world, based on non-speculative and therefore scientifically demonstrable Linnaean systematics.
The author is a graduate of the University of New South Wales with double Majors in the History and Philosophy of Science, and History (1960-1964). He was also awarded a Diploma in Education (Melbourne TC). Together with his wife, Lucilla Wyborn d’Abrera, he founded Hill House Publishers (Melbourne and London) in 1982. In 1987, Hill House Publishers was awarded an exclusive licence by the British Museum (Natural History) to reproduce, from the libraries of the BMNH, the works of John Gould (20 volumes to date), rare maps, and other documents in authentic facsimile. Bernard d’Abrera was awarded the Rolex Award for Excellence in 1984.
Work with Museums
d’Abrera’s spectacular and scientifically accurate butterfly pictures are based largely upon the peerless collections of the Natural History Museum in London. He has also based his research for the butterfly series upon other worldwide museums such as the Macleay Museum in Sydney, the Museum Victoria in Melbourne www.museumvictoria.com.au, the Royal Museum for Central Africa at Tervuren, Belgium, www.africamuseum.be, as well as private collections such as the African Butterfly Research Institute (ABRI) in Nairobi.
In the field
d’Abrera’s work in museums has been balanced by field expeditions, sometimes at the risk of his own life, to many countries, especially where environmental degradation has begun permanently to affect natural habitats for the worse. The author’s visits to the field are marked by his renowned photographic record of the living fauna in its natural environment.