Lepidopterology (from Ancient Greek ? (scale) and (wing); and - -logia.), is a branch of entomology concerning the scientific study of moths and the three superfamilies of butterflies. Someone that studies in this field is a lepidopterist or, archaically, an aurelian.
Post-Renaissance, the rise of the "lepidopterist" can be attributed to the expanding interest in science, nature and the surroundings. When Linnaeus wrote the tenth edition of the Systema Naturae in 1758, there was already "a substantial body of published work on Lepidopteran natural history" (Kristensen, 1999).
Although the chief mode of study of the butterflies was through pinned specimen collections, it was difficult for cataloguing and communicating names and descriptions widely. Books on butterflies with plates that were either hand-painted, lithographed and printed have been a major tool in lepidopterology. These include the massive works by Adalbert Seitz. Some unusual works like the Butterfly Fauna of Ceylon (1942) by Lionel Gilbert Ollyett Woodhouse (1888-1965) and Moths and Butterflies of the United States East of the Rocky Mountains (1900) by Sherman F. Denton made use of butterfly wing-prints where the illustrations incorporated the scales of the wings. Illustrious Russian writer, Vladimir Nabokov was a noted lepidopterist, having discovered the passion at the age of seven. He would later write about butterflies, collect, and illustrate them. Nabokov volunteered at Harvard's Museum of Comparative Zoology in the Entomology Department where he would organize specimens for as much as 14 hours a day.
Lepidopterists are served by a number of scientific societies, both national and international in scope. They promote research in lepidopterology and dissemination of the findings therefrom primarily through the arrangement of talks such as the biennial European Congresses of Lepidopterology or the TILS Leps Talk. These societies include: