1717 Albin's Hampstead Eye lost Butterfly

1717 Albin's Hampstead Eye lost Butterfly

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Credit: PAUL D STEWART/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Albin's Hampstead Eye. from 'A History of British Butterflies" by the Rev. Francis Orpen Morris. Published in London1853. This is the British butterfly that never was. Only one specimen was ever recorded of this butterfly in England, and that was captured at Hampstead, near London by Albin. It was first described and figured by James Petiver in his Papilionum Britanniae of 1717. It was copied into entomology books thereafter, but by the time this print was published the game was nearly up. This butterfly is actually an Indo-Australasian species (Junonia villida) known as the Meadow Argus butterfly in Australia. It is believed that Albin, an illustrator by trade, inadvertently mixed up his specimens, believing he had taken this specimen at Hampstead. How the butterfly made it to Albin from so remote a location is still a mystery.

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Keywords: albin, albin's hampstead eye, aurelian, british, butterfly, fake, hampstead, james petiver, junonia villida, meadow argus, papilionum britanniae, rare, wrong

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