HTML/CD of Hampson (1903-1915) Noctuidae
of the
British Museum
Preface to the HTML/CD edition.

Welcome to the online/CD version of this classic of noctuid illustration and description. This information technology advance was born out of the frustration of not having these illustrations available at my fingertips. Not only were they on the 23rd floor of our library, but they were in multiple crumbling volumes which would be doomed to further decay by both time and use. My first project was to get the Catocala illustrations digitized and available since they were the major focus of my collaboration with Ted Sargent and exemplified by many fine attempts at illustration. With this circumscribed group I was able to capture images of individual figures and display them in four or six frame settings such that any set of Catocala figures from Strecker, Barnes & McDunnough, or Hampson could be displayed side by side for easy comparison.   With this smaller task safely established as an online and CD resource (URL: I turned to the larger task to which my wing venation interests were directing me: the noctuids of the world.

The Hampson British Museum Plates and Text are clearly the biggest single worldwide collection of information available on noctuids and might form a proper basis for any worldwide treatment of the group.  There are 187 plates of noctuids with 5180 individual figures of moths.  Fortunately, through the Leps-L email list I have been able to reach some noctuid experts who have already given me invaluable direction in regional checklists and amendments to the noctuid nomenclature. I first am amending the plate legends with the Hodges (1983) changes and will then tackle the Australian (Nielsen et al., 1996) amendments.  Next the New Zealand (Dugdale, 1988) amendments will be applied. Amendments to these, in some cases dated, checklists will require expert advice from arround the world. Helpful direction has already been suggested by Ted Martin of Australia and Gary Anweiler of Canada. Continued input will be needed and is welcome from other regional specialists to make this an up-to-date international resource.

My intention is to provide the Hampson plates with corrected nomenclature in as upto date fashion as possible and to supplement this with other illustrations from classical sources which will approach a complete visual database for the noctuids. The original Hampson plates do not have a comprehensive index to the figures other than interspersed in the original text volumes.  I am providing a subfamily, generic and species index that is hyperlinked to the plate contents and images.   Eventually I hope to provide the same capability as already provided for the Catocala, i.e. the ability to place any two images side by side in frames for easy comparison.  [to be continued]
Joe Kunkel
January 19, 1998