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Who is The Aurelian?

The Aurelian loves butterflies, photography, travel and maps. He now lives in Western Australia, but spent his early years in the UK.


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Activities, Places

Taking the Bait

Knee deep in mud, attacked by blood-sucking leeches and pestered by savage mosquitoes, while vainly pursuing butterflies that refuse to descend from the canopy high above – this is butterflying in the tropical rainforest. 

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Species, Uncategorized

Cold Comfort

The Aurelian had hoped to write a short, witty piece about speciation in butterflies. He thought he understood the issues, but just to be sure, started reading and re-reading books and papers on the subject.

Big mistake.

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Butterfly or Moth?

Sooner or later, every lepidopterist gets asked the inevitable question by a friend. What’s the difference between a butterfly and a moth?

The Aurelian’s response is always the same. How long have you got?

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Places, Species

Scrutinising Scarce

We know that some butterflies are more common that others. We usefully distinguish between the generalists – those insects that can be found pretty much anywhere, and the habitat specialists, whether that specialism is mountains, woodland, mangroves, rain forest or whatever. But what does it take for a butterfly to be accurately called “scarce”?

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Migration? Why bother?

The Aurelian was bumping around on the back seat of a minibus when the conversation turned to the topic of migration. Yes, many butterflies migrate, that much is in escapable, but why do they bother?

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Location, location, location

There’s a spot just twenty minutes drive from the heart of Sofia in Bulgaria. It’s a wooded area where a small stream joins a larger river alongside the main road, near enough the city that there’s a bus stop. Nothing remarkable, that’s it in the photograph. You could drive past on your daily commute for years, and never feel a need to stop.

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