The following photographs are from the book, Twelve new designs of English butterflies, by Benjamin Wilkes [published in 1742]. This rare work consists solely of twelve engraved plates each depicting geometric arrangements of both butterflies and moths. Wilkes produced this profoundly beautiful work as member of the Aurelian Society. Aurelian is an archaic word for lepidopterist [one who is interested in butterflies]; the term is derived from aurelia, meaning chrysalis, and relates to the golden colour it may attain just before the butterfly emerges.
The Society of Aurelians [London], one of the oldest organized bodies of specialists in any branch of zoology. The group collected and documented insects from the 1690s but came to an abrupt end in March 1748. While members of the society were in a meeting in the Swan Tavern, a great fire broke out in Cornhill and enveloped them. All the members escaped, but their entire collection, library, and records were destroyed. This event was documented by Moses Harris in The Aurelian; or, Natural History of English Insects (1765). The loss disheartened the group so much that they never managed to regroup again…Aurelian societies were formed several times in Britain [most notable 1762 and 1801], but each time they collapsed.
…Benjamin Wilkes was an 18th-century artist and naturalist whose profession was 'painting of History Pieces and Portraits in Oil'. When a friend invited him to a meeting of the Aurelian Society, where he first saw specimens of butterflies and moths, he became convinced that nature would be his 'best instructor' as to colour and form in art. He began to study entomology spending his leisure time collecting, studying and drawing the images larvae, pupae and parasitic flies of Lepidoptera, assisted by the collector Mr Joseph Dandridge. Wilkes' own collection was kept 'against the Horn Tavern in Fleet Street' London 'Where any gentleman or lady' could see his collection of insects [Wikipedia].
Our holdings of other Aurelian books include:
The English Lepidoptera: or, the Aurelian's pocket companion: containing a catalogue of upward of four hundred moths and butterflies ... / Moses Harris 
The aurelian. a natural history of English moths and butterflies, together with the plants on which they feed. Also .../ Moses Harris 
English moths and butterflies… Benjamin Wilkes  This work ran to three editions of which the last, incorporating Linnaean nomenclature, was published in 1824
The British Aurelian: twelve new designs of British Butterflies and Directions for making a collection, with an essay by R.S. Wilkinson / Benjamin Wilkes, R.S. Wilkinson 
All photographs in this post taken by the author
The nest of Peregrine falcons in the clock tower appears to have failed, due to unknown causes sometime during the last week or so. However, after an absence of several days, both birds are showing renewed interest in the nest-site. Today has seen considerable activity with one bird visiting the nest several times and apparently busying itself tidying the interior while the other bird of the pair watched from close by. Although peregrines only have one brood each year, if the first brood is lost at an early stage they sometimes re-lay a second clutch, either in the original nest, or perhaps more often, at a nearby site. We now watch, wait and hope that a new clutch of eggs will be laid sometime in the near future and that these magnificent falcons will have more success the second time around.
It now looks that the breeding attempt by Peregrine Falcons in the clock tower has failed. All indications were that eggs were laid during late March and early April and if all had gone according to plan, they should have been hatching about now (eggs are usually incubated for 31-33 days). Unfortunately, no birds have been seen at the nest or perched nearby on the clock tower for several days now so it seems certain that the nest has been abandoned. We do not know why this breeding attempt has failed but the most likely cause is that the eggs have been eaten by predators, perhaps crows, ravens or gulls. Although peregrines only raise one brood each year it remains possible that the birds will make a second attempt to breed and we remain vigilant in case that happens.
Gwobrau Gwyddonwyr Gwych 2014
Bydd Amgueddfa Cymru yn dyfarnu Tystysgrifau Gwyddonwyr Gwych i naw deg pump o ysgolion ar draws y DU eleni, i gydnabod eu cyfraniad i Ymchwiliad Bylbiau’r Gwanwyn – Newid Hinsawdd.
Llongyfarchiadau anferth i bob un o’r ysgolion! Mae rhestr o’r enillwyr isod, ydy’ch ysgol chi yno?
Diolch i bob un o’r 4200 disgybl a helpodd eleni! Diolch am weithio mor galed yn plannu, arsylwi, mesur a chofnodi – rydych chi i gyd yn Wyddonwyr Gwych! Bydd pob un yn derbyn tystysgrif a phensel Gwyddonydd Gwych, ac fe fyddan nhw’n cyrraedd eich ysgol tua canol mis Mai.
Diolch yn fawr i Ymddiriedolaeth Edina am eu nawdd ac am helpu i wireddu’r holl broject!
Diolch i’r tri enillydd wnaeth anfon y nifer fwyaf o ddata tywydd. Bydd pob un yn derbyn trip ysgol llawn hwyl i atyniad natur.
- Ysgol Clocaenog yng Nghymru
- Ysgol Gynradd Abronhill yn yr Alban
- Ysgol Gynradd Gymunedol Dallas Road yn Lloegr
Bydd pob ysgol yn derbyn tocyn anrheg i brynu offer ar gyfer eich projectau garddio.
- Ysgol Gynradd Cross Hands yng Nghymru
- Ysgol Gynradd Wormit yn yr Alban
- Ysgol Gynradd Gatholig y Cymun Bendigaid yn Lloegr
Bydd pob ysgol yn derbyn tystysgrifau, pensiliau, hadau blodau’r haul a hadau perlysiau.
- Abergwili VC Primary
- Archbishop Hutton's Primary School
- Arkholme CE Primary School
- Balshaw Lane Community Primary School
- Bleasdale CE Primary School
- Burscough Bridge Methodist School
- Carnforth North Road Primary School
- Christchurch CP School
- Combe Primary School
- Coppull Parish Church School
- Cutteslowe Primary School
- Darran Park Primary
- Freuchie Primary School
- Gladestry C. in W. Primary
- Glyncollen Primary
- Kilmaron School
- Raglan VC Primary
- SS Philip and James CE Primary School
- St Athan Primary School
- St Blanes Primary School
- St Ignatius Primary School
- St Mary's Catholic Primary School, Leyland
- St Mellons Church in Wales Primary School
- St Michael's CE (Aided) Primary School
- St Nicholas Primary School
- St Patrick's Primary School
- Stanford in the Vale CE Primary School
- Ysgol Bro Eirwg
- Ysgol Deganwy
Bydd pob ysgol yn derbyn tystysgrifau, pensiliau a hadau blodau’r haul.
- Auchengray Primary School
- Britannia Community Primary School
- Cawthorne's Endowed Primary School
- Coleg Meirion-Dwyfor
- Culross Primary School
- Greyfriars RC Primary School
- Holy Trinity CE Primary School
- John Cross CE Primary School
- Llanishen Fach Primary School
- Red Marsh School
- St Anne's Catholic Primary School
- St Laurence CE Primary School
- Woodplumpton St. Anne's Primary School
- Ysgol Gynradd Dolgellau
- Ysgol Terrig
- Ysgol Y Plas
Ysgolion i dderbyn tystysgrifau
Bydd pob ysgol yn derbyn Tystysgrifau Gwyddonwyr Gwych a phensiliau.
- All Saints' CE Primary School
- Balcurvie Primary School
- Ballerup Nursery
- Blenheim Road Community Primary School
- Brockholes Wood Community Primary School
- Brynhyfryd Junior School
- Catforth Primary School
- Chatelherault Primary School
- Cleddau Reach VC Primary School
- Cobbs Brow Primary School
- Coed-y-Lan Primary School
- Flakefleet Primary School
- Glencairn Primary School
- Golden Hill School
- Henllys C/W Primary
- Hillside Specialist School
- Ladywell Primary School
- Lakeside Primary
- Lea Community School
- Manor Road Primary School
- Manor School
- Milford Haven Junior School
- Newport Primary School
- Pinfold Primary School
- RAF Benson Primary School
- Rogiet Primary School
- Rougemont Junior School
- Scotforth St Paul's CE Primary School
- St Bernadette's Primary School
- St Gregory's Catholic Primary School
- St John's CE Primary School
- St Nicholas C/W primary school
- Trellech Primary School
- Tynewater Primary School
- Woodstock CE Primary School
- Ysgol Bro Tawe
- Ysgol Glan Cleddau
- Ysgol Iau Hen Golwyn
- Ysgol Nant y Coed
- Ysgol Rhys Prichard
- Ysgol Santes Tudful
- Ysgol Sychdyn
- Ysgol Y Berllan Deg
- Ysgol Y Faenol
Cystadleuaeth Darlunio Cennin Pedr 2014
Llongyfarchiadau i’r disgyblion canlynol am greu darluniau botaneg arbennig! Gwobr yr enillwyr fydd pecynnau gwylio adar yn cynnwys binocwlars bach.
- 1af: Abbey – Coppull Parish Church School
- 2il: Louise – SS Philip and James CE Primary School (Pink 3)
- 3ydd: Amelie – Stanford in the Vale CE Primary School
Da iawn, rydych chi wedi gwneud gwaith ANHYGOEL.
Exploring biodiversity in the Amazon
Adrian Plant continues his fieldwork in the Amazon in collaboration with Jose Albertino Rafael and Josenir Camara from INPA (Brazil’s national Amazon research organisation) in Manaus.
So far two field-trips to remote corners of the Amazon have been successfully completed. The first was to Sao Gabriel da Cachoeira high up the Rio Negra not far from Brazil’s borders with Colombia and Venezuela and the second to a major tributary of the Amazon along the border with Peru at Benjamin Constant.
The forests of the Amazon Basin are flood forests; they become seasonally inundated by the flooded river and the waters bring with them many of the nutrients essential to the forests great productivity throughout the region. This year the forest remains unusually wet for the time of year which has caused a few practical problems for field entomology.- it is an acquired pleasure to slosh around in deep mud and water searching for new and interesting insects under a constant plague of biting mosquitoes. Yet, to an entomologist this is more or less a definition of “fun”!
The biodiversity is amazing of course and many of the insects seen and collected are undoubtedly new to science but will require much study in more comfortable surroundings after returning from the field. Meanwhile, Adrian will shortly be setting out on a third fieldtrip, this time to a little known area between the mouth of the Amazon river and French Guiana where many exciting discoveries will undeniably be made.
Os oeddech chi yn ymweld â Llundain yr wythnos diwethaf mae’n siŵr eich bod chi wedi sylwi bod yr awyr yn llawn llwch – fel edrych drwy gwmwl brwnt! Ond beth yw mwrllwch, a beth yw’r gwahaniaeth rhyngddo â niwl?
Beth yw niwl?
Cwmwl ar y llawr yw niwl! Llawer o ddiferion dŵr mân yn hofran yn yr awyr yw niwl ac mae’n rhan naturiol o’r tywydd. Mae niwl yn helpu i ddyfrio planhigion ac yn ddiogel i chi ei anadlu i mewn.
Beth yw mwrllwch?
Llygredd aer yw mwrllwch. Mae’n cael ei gynhyrchu wrth i niwl gymysgu â mwg a nwyon cemegol ceir a ffatrïoedd ac mae rhai o’r cemegau yma’n wenwynig! Mae’n niweidio planhigion ac anifeiliaid a gall fod yn beryglus ei anadlu i mewn.
Mae’r mwrllwch diweddar yn Llundain yn gymysgedd o niwl, llygredd a thrydydd cynhwysyn – tywod o’r Sahara! Anialwch anferth yn Affrica yw’r Sahara ac mae peth o’r tywod yno yn fân iawn, iawn fel llwch. Weithiau bydd stormydd gwynt yn codi’r llwch a’i chwythu filoedd o filltiroedd i’r DU. Dyna siwrnai hir!
Yn anffodus, mae’r gymysgedd o niwl, llygredd a llwch yr anialwch yn golygu bod mwrllwch Llundain yn niweidio’r ysgyfaint, ac mae wedi gwneud rhai pobl yn sâl. Mae mwrllwch yn un rheswm da iawn pam y dylen ni i gyd geisio lleihau llygredd aer!
Beth alla i ei wneud i leihau llygredd aer?
Meddyliwch am lygredd aer… beth sy’n ei achosi? Allwch chi feddwl am 3 pheth y gallech chi ei wneud i leihau llygredd aer? Trafodwch yn y dosbarth cyn gwirio eich atebion yma (gwefan Saesneg).
Eich cwestiynau, fy atebion:
Glyncollen Primary School: Sorry we were late again. We had a busy week as we are going to Llangrannog. We have had great fun doing this investigation. We can't wait to find out who has won the competition. We are going to tell the year3 class about it as they will be doing it next year. Thank you Professor Plant. Yr. 4. Prof P: Hope you had fun at Llangrannog! I am so glad you have enjoyed the investigation Glyncollen. Thank you so much for taking part!
Ysgol Clocaenog: Pen wedi disgyn ffwrdd! Athro'r Ardd: Wedi colli ei ben!
Gladestry C.I.W. School: Although the flowers were open earlier in the week, they have closed up again at the drop in temperature. Prof P: I can tell that you have learnt a lot about your planrs Gladestry, well done!
Diolch yn fawr
Casglu Gwymon yn Iwerddon
Gan Kath Slade
Mae’r tîm wedi dychwelyd o’u gwaith maes morol yng ngorllewin Iwerddon gyda digonedd o sbesimenau i’w cadw’n brysur, gan gynnwys gwymon. Amserwyd y gwaith i fanteisio ar sawl llanw isel iawn oedd yn ein galluogi i gasglu sbesimenau ymhell i lawr y traeth sydd heb addasu i gyfnodau hir allan o’r dŵr. Er hyn, dim ond tua dwy awr a gafon ni i samplo tra oedd y dŵr ar ddistyll.
Mae sawl gwymon coch i’w gweld ymhellach i lawr y traethau, fel y Gwymon Cochddail (Delesseria sanguinea), Gwymon Crychog Mânwythiennog (Cryptopleura ramosa) a Gwymon Bachog Bonnemaison (Bonnemaisonia hamifera).
Roedd tipyn o waith prosesu i’w wneud yn syth wedi’r casglu gan nad yw gwymon yn para’n hir allan o’i gynefin naturiol ar lan y môr. Cafodd nifer eu harnofio mewn hambyrddau dŵr môr er mwyn lledu’r ffrondiau (neu ddail), cyn eu trosglwyddo i bapur codwm cadwraeth a’u gwasgu. Cafodd y sbesiemau eu pentyrru gyda phapur blotio rhwng pob planhigyn i amsugno’r dŵr cyn eu gwasgu mewn gweisg planhigion mawr, fel y rhai a ddefnyddir i wasgu blodau. Cai’r papur blotio ei newid bob dydd er mwyn tynnu cymaint o ddŵr â phosibl. Wedi dychwelyd i’r amgueddfa gosodwyd y gweisg mewn peiriannau sychu i gyflymu’r broses ac atal y gwymon rhag pydru.
Mae’n anodd adnabod rhai gwymon o’u nodweddion allanol yn unig. Casglwyd darnau bychain o rai rhywogaethau a’u gosod mewn gel silica. Mae hyn yn sychu’r gwymon yn llawer cynt ac yn cadw’r DNA mewn cyflwr gwell er mwyn gwneud gwaith moleciwlaidd yn ddiweddarach. Cadwyd sbesimenau eraill mewn formalin, sy’n tynnu’r lliw o’r gwymon ond yn cadw manylion y celloedd a strwythur 3D y planhigyn. Bydd gwaith adnabod pellach yn cael ei gynnal yn ôl yn yr Amgueddfa.
Mae’r holl waith paratoi yn ein galluogi i gadw gwymon ar gyfer astudiaethau gwyddonol yn y dyfodol. Cedwir y sbesimenau ym Mhlanhigfa Genedlaethol Cymru (casgliadau planhigion) yn yr Amgueddfa, ac mae pob un yn brawf o’r gwymon oedd yn bresennol ymhle ac ar ba bryd. Mae’r broses wasgu mor effeithiol nes y gall sbesimenau bara am gannoedd o flynyddoedd.
Fieldwork in Co. Mayo - Update
The team are now back from the West Coast of Ireland and the trip has proven to be really successful. The team continued to sample around Corraun, near Achill Island, north Clew Bay for several days, although the weather did turn. They are now processing the samples collected back at National Museum Cardiff. The seaweed samples are carefully dried and pressed, bristleworm and shell specimens are removed from the formaldehyde fixative and then placed into alcohol, and the DNA samples are placed into the freezer. Once processed the specimens will become part of the Museum Collections, and will contribute greatly to the research of the Natural Sciences department.
10 Uchaf yr Adar
Shwmae gyfeillion y gwanwyn!
Canlyniadau Big Garden Birdwatch
Beth yw’r 10 aderyn mwyaf cyffredin yn eich gardd chi? Cyfrannodd bron i hanner miliwn o bobl at Big Garden Birdwatch 2014 yr RSPB (y Gymdeithas Frenhinol er Gwarchod Adar). Dyma nhw’n cyfri dros 7 miliwn o adar! Wnaethoch chi helpu? Os na, beth am ddechrau eleni er mwyn gallu helpu y flwyddyn nesaf? I weld y 10 aderyn mwyaf cyffredin, dilynwch y ddolen hon.
Pa ysgolion sydd wedi gweld eu blodau cyntaf?
Mae Trellech Primary School yng Nghymru, ac Britannia Community Primary School yn Lloegr i gyd wedi anfon eu cofnodion blodau cyntaf. Da iawn a diolch yn fawr i’r ysgolion yma!
Dyma un o fy nghydweithwyr yng Nghaerdydd yn dangos y ffotograff yma i fi o gennin Pedr yn ei gardd. Allwch chi weld rhywbeth rhyfedd am y blodau? Mae’r llun ychydig yn aneglur ond wrth edrych yn ofalus gallwch chi weld bod gan rai o’r coesynnau ddau neu dri o flodau! Rhyfedd iawn. Ydych chi wedi gweld unrhyw blanhigion anarferol?
Diolch i Ysgol Gynradd SS Philip a James yr Eglwys yn Lloegr am anfon y ffotograff hwn o’u holl flodau hyfryd. Yn y trydydd ffotograff gallwch chi weld eu bod nhw hefyd wedi gweld blodau anarferol – wnaeth rhai o’r cennin Pedr ddim agor yn llawn. Mae hyn yn ddiddorol iawn, alwch chi feddwl am unrhyw reswm pam na fyddai’r blodau yn agor? Wnaeth hyn ddigwydd i’ch blodau chi?
Cot Cennin Pedr!
Ydych chi am weld llun doniol o ddyn yn gwisgo cennin Pedr? Dyma chi! James yw ei enw ac mae’n gwisgo siwt wedi’i gwneud o gennin Pedr i godi arian at elusen. Da iawn James!
Your comments, my answers:
Prof P: I had lots and lots of comments from Dallas Road Community Primary School so I thought I would put them all on the blog this week, thank-you all for sending me your messages! Congratulations to all of you, even if your flower did not grow, was stepped on, got broken or died, you are ALL Super Scientists! Prof P.
Dallas Road Community Primary School:
I think it didn't open because the daffodil was hovering over it and so it didn't get enough sun and rain. :(
I think my daffodil was in the shade so it did not open.
Someone cut its head off
It didn't open because somebody stepped on it
Someone broke the bud off
Mine did not open!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
My Bulb disappeared
It was a bit floppy so we did not get chance to tie it up. But it is still open.
I am quiet sad my daffodils have not opened but they are growing so I will believe that soon they will and they are really tall.
My daffodil is growing very tall but it is a bit floppy.
My crocus is beautiful some of them are starting to die but still i'm happy because some are still growing and some have opened and some of them are fully beautiful i'm really happy about every crocus. My crocus's are quiet tall some are small as well
my crocus is really beautiful i have got another 3-4 crocuses opening i really enjoy seeing my plant grow.
My crocus has flowered well and is growing quite tall which is good and happy about it all.
I did not get a daffodil so it did not grow.
Daffodil has broke and I had to tie it up.
My plant head fell off. I haven't seen it since so I don't know if it has grown back.
My daffodil didnt open. I dont think mine had enough sunlight
Prof P: Culross Primary School sent me messages to tell me they had named their flowers, thanks Culross! Here are some of the names they gave their Daffodils and Crocuses: Danny, Dafty, Crocy, Abby, Croaky, Dave, Chris, Cassy, Ceeper, Bob, Jim.
Diolch yn fawr
On fieldwork in County Mayo
Six members of Natural Sciences staff are currently on fieldwork in Co. Mayo, Ireland. After attending the 2 day Porcupine Marine Natural History Conference at the Ryan Institute, National University of Ireland Galway they set off for Co. Mayo for 5 days of intertidal fieldwork. Their primary interests are in marine bristle worms (polychaetes), bivalve shells (molluscs) and seaweed.
After setting up a temporary laboratory the scientific team have spent the last two days visiting several shores in Clew Bay and Blacksod Bay — following in the footsteps of those who carried out the historic 'Clare Island Survey' in the early 1900s. Samples are being processed for both morphological and DNA work contributing to the Museum's collections and research programme. Many live animals and algae are being photographed. Today the team is setting off to Corraun, near Achill Island, north Clew Bay. They will be joined by Fiona Crouch of the Marine Biological Association UK, who has been extending her 'Shore Thing' community science programme to Ireland (as ShorTIE).
Further updates to come, but for up-to-date news follow us at https://twitter.com/CardiffCurator