Goal and objectives

The mission of the Foundation is educational by dissemination of knowledge about butterflies and moths.  Our primary objective is publishing The Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera (JRL). The JRL attempts to maintain high scholastic standards through peer review. We secondly support a program to provide small grants to students and long term biodiversity surveys. A recent objective is development of exhibits involving interactions with other disciplines and the arts. These are designed to attract and educate the general public on the significance of Lepidoptera to understanding both environmental issues and general biological principles.


The Lepidoptera Research Foundation was established by William Hovanitz in 1962. Dr, Hovanitz was a well known researcher during the early days of the development of what was called the “new systematics.” His goal was to publish the Journal of Research on the Lepidoptera as a venue open to all workers without space constraint and open to all viewpoints. He involved his family, wife Barbara and three children to help with the business matters and mailing. This he accomplished along with an active academic career and business involvements. Shortly after his University retirement he moved from the Los Angeles area to Santa Barbara and was suddenly stricken and quite prematurely died in 1977. Barbara called upon the director Rudi Mattoni to assume operation of the Foundation. A memorial supplement is available in our on line files giving a detailed obituary with two of his significant papers.

There followed a period of varying difficulty in publication. The JRL fell far behind, initially brought on by the closing of the printer Hovanitz used and followed by a series of printer changes in attempt to maintain quality in face of rapidly escalating costs during the 1980’s. The situation was further exacerbated by a variety of problems that affected business matters of bookkeeping and mailing. These problems appear solved while assuring a high quality peer reviewed publication.

Foundation activity expanded starting in 1980 with publication of the book Attacus by Richard Peigler, followed by Butterflies of Baja California by John Brown et al. The special booklet/poster Butterflies of Los Angeles by Rudi Mattoni sold over 9000 copies and another booklet on Buenos Aires garden butterflies (English or Spanish) by Mattoni and Vannucci was out in 2008. A booklet on the big moths of Buenos Aires is in process. The latter are available on line from us, or our agent Bioquip Products. The Foundation is positioned to publish any relevant work dealing with Lepidoptera.

The small endowment set up by Hovanitz, later supplemented and well managed, significantly expanded over past few years, enabling the Foundation to expand its programs. The endowment provided student grants from 2005 to 2009.  In 2010 this funding was redirected to support one full time Lepidoptera parataxonomist for the Yanayacu, Ecuador reserve.  Our intention is to provide the long term support for a critical project.  We recently began to develop a public exhibits program to increase awareness of the significance of Lepidoptera in conservation.  The program is international.

The Lepidoptera Research Foundation is a dynamic organization. We have made every effort to maintain cutting edge innovative design with open source services. Thus we have not had page charges for over a decade and were among the earliest group of biology journals to open source our archives (in 2005).  Now, because of declining revenue and increasing expenses, especially mailing costs, we have changed to on-line publishing. Details are described in JRL Online.


The Foundation is a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization under the provisions of Chapter 501(c) 3 of the Internal Revenue Code. All donations are tax deductible.  Please note we do require additional donations in order to maintain long term operation of all programs.


Bill Hovanitz structured the Foundation around a small board of directors to provide rapid response in problem solving. The three member board (cv’s below) is international. All are professionals. Special committees, as for editorial assistance and awards are set up as needed basis from the community of professional Lepidopterists.  Directors receive no remuneration.
Business and publications are managed by Nancy Vannucci,  Nancy can respond to your inquiries concerning most technical and business matters: jrl_lepidoptera@yahoo.com.


Directors and staff

Rudolf H. T. Mattoni PhD Zoology, population genetics UCLA. Academic experience included assistant professor at California State Univeristies at Los Angeles and Northridge, most recently lecturer in Geography, UCLA, teaching biogeography, conservation biology and special research.
Daniel Rubinoff PhD, Entomology, UC Berkeley. Associate professor of Entomology, Dept. of University of Hawaii.
Konrad Fiedler PhD, full professor for population ecology and head of the newly established department at the University of Vienna.
Nancy Vannucci, Information Science student at Facultad de Filosofía y Letras, Universidad de Buenos Aires.