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The following is an extract from the second of three Scott family notebooks compiled between 1840 and 1864 in preparation for the publication of Australian Lepidoptera and their Transformations. It records the detail and care the Scott family took with their painstaking project of collecting, rearing, observing and recording the life cycles of butterflies and moths.

Scott family notebook 2, page 3
Scott family notebook 2, page 3 Image: Australian Museum
© Australian Museum

"...Cryptophasa pultenaea, Lewin. Found on Ash Island, in July, feeding in the Callistemon, Turned to Chrysalis in the latter end of September, the Larva having secured the entrance to the nest with a silken webbing, with a small hole in the centre, like the prick of a pin. The outer covering of the nest all dropping off. Took wing in the middle of November. The caterpillar has the segment next the head horny, the two next with crop lines, thus, X. On the back of all the remaining segments are 4 yellow spots arranged in pairs, thus, 88, having a dark dorsal line between them. The Chrysalis has the posterior & anterior portions horny, & rough abdominal rings. The upper wings thorax and fringe of moth are beautifully white and glistening. Abdomen of male tufted..." page 3.

Download the handwritten notebook (30613 kB PDF)
Download the transcription (423 kB PDF)

About the Scott family notebooks

Begun by AW Scott around 1839, each of the notebooks contain entries by all four Scott daughters (Fanny, Mary, Harriet and Helena). Earlier notebooks (such as this one) are closely connected to the sketches and drawings made as the family collected and observed butterflies and moths first in Sydney and later on Ash Island.

The notebooks show how the butterfly and moth project developed from these observational records and drawings into its more ambitious book form over a number of years. By the time Harriet and Helena took over the notebooks around the mid-1840s, the Australian Lepidoptera book seems to have been the much clearer focus of their efforts.