Remarks on the recent publication of Titian R. Peale’s “lost manuscript,” including new information about Peale’s Lepidoptera illustrations

John V. Calhoun(1) and David M. Wright(2)
(1) Research Associate, McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity, Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida. Mailing
address: 977 Wicks Drive, Palm Harbor, FL USA 34684-4656
(2) 124 Heartwood Drive, Lansdale, PA, USA 19446-1638,

The Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera

Volume 49: 21-51

ISSN 0022-4324 (print)
ISSN 2156-5457 (online)

Abstract.The recent book The Butterflies of North America: Titian Peale’s Lost Manuscript introduces over two hundred previously unpublished drawings of butterflies and moths by the naturalist-artist Titian Ramsay Peale. In many instances, this book provides inaccurate and insufficient information about Peale’s illustrations and the specimens they portray. A number of species are misidentified and the nomenclature is sometimes outdated. A detailed analysis of these illustrations reveals that many of the depicted specimens still exist. It was also discovered that Peale copied over fifty of his larvae, pupae, and plants from at least ten published works. With the assistance of twelve other lepidopterists and botanists, the insects and plants portrayed in Peale’s illustrations are re-identified. New information about Peale’s abandoned work, Lepidoptera Americana, is also presented.

Key words: John Abbot, butterflies, larva, Mexico, moths, North America, plants, pupa, South America.

Received: 9 January 2016
Accepted: 18 January 2016

Published online at on 1 May 2016

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