British and Irish butterflies and moths: The Cockayne collection

The Museum's British and Irish Lepidoptera collection is the most important in existence, containing a wealth of material of both scientific and historic importance.

The collection, consisting of half a million specimens, was formed in 1970 by the amalgamation of the Rothschild-Cockayne-Kettlewell collection with the many other important British and Irish Lepidoptera collections already at the Museum. The whole collection is known as the Cockayne collection.

  • Moth from the Cockayne collection
    Taxon search

    Search the database for scientific or common names. Taxon name can be Suborder, Family, Subfamily, Genus or Species.

  • Moth from the Cockayne collection
    Specimen search

    Find a specimen from a particular country, county or locality, or search for a particular collector.

  • Moth from the Cockayne collection
    Typical British moths

    Search for typical British moths in the Cockayne collection.

  • moth 4 Cockayne
    Typical British butterflies

    Search for thumbnail images of typical British and Irish butterfly specimens.

  • Cinnabar moth
    Notes on the database

    Information on searching the Cockayne collection database and understanding the results.

  • Spurge-Hawk moth
    About the Cockayne collection

    More information on the collection, the trustees and the Cockayne Committee.

  • Female emperor moth
    The Cockayne Trust

    Founded in 1951, this fund was set up for the promotion and study of the science of entomology by making improvements to and by furnishing information about the Rothschild-Cockayne-Kettlewell Collection.

  • Garden Tiger moth
    The Cockayne Fellowship

    The Cockayne Research Fellowship is a charity linked to and supported by The Cockayne Trust, to stimulate new work on Lepidoptera.

  • Lycaena phlaeas
    The Rothschild Cockayne Kettlewell Collection

    This superb collection was formed in 1947 by the amalgamation of the Rothschild British and Irish butterfly and moth collection with the extensive combined collections of Drs EA Cockayne and HBD Kettlewell.

Contact us

Mr Geoff Martin
Collections Manager (Lepidoptera)
Department of Life Sciences
Natural History Museum
Cromwell Road

Email us


Phase 1, butterflies: Carter DJ, Hernandez-Triana L, Vane-Wright RI and Martin G.

Phase 2, larger moths: Martin G, Cassey DJ and Harman K.

Phase 3, micro moths, Martin G, Baldacconi Gondeck M