About the Cockayne collection

This collection is named after Dr EA Cockayne, who set up the Cockayne Trust to promote the science of entomology by encouraging the study of British butterflies and moths.

The Cockayne Trust, in collaboration with The Natural History Museum, is supporting the Cockayne Website which aims to provide free access to a comprehensive resource for the identification of British butterflies and moths, illustrating all native and introduced species and their variation.
The Cockayne Website will eventually provide a definitive collection of high quality digital illustrations, using specimens from the National Collection of British Lepidoptera at The Natural History Museum London. This collection is largely based on the Rothschild-Cockayne-Kettlewell (RCK) Collection of British Lepidoptera, which is supported by the Cockayne Trust. It should be clearly understood that neither the Museum nor the Trust condones irresponsible collecting of insects and it is hoped that this reference facility will encourage and empower naturalists to contribute significantly to the understanding and conservation of our native fauna.


The first phase of this project deals with butterflies and provides approximately 1700 images illustrating geographic, seasonal, genetic and major individual variations. The second phase deals with the larger moths (Macrolepidoptera)  and provides approximately 1700 images of typical specimens and common forms. The third phase will cover the smaller moths (Microlepidoptera) and will be available in due course.