John Heath (entomologist)

John Heath (18 January 1922 – 6 July 1987) FRES was an English entomologist, specialising in lepidoptera. He helped to established data banks as a tool for conservation policy, both at a national and local level; was chief editor of The Moths and Butterflies of Great Britain and Ireland; and helped to develop the Heath Trap, a portable moth light used for recording moths at light.[1]

John Heath
Born(1922-01-18)18 January 1922
Worcester, England
Died6 July 1987(1987-07-06) (aged 65)
Alma materKing Edward VI School, Southampton
Known forEditor of The Moths and Butterflies of Great Britain and Ireland
Established data banks as a tool for conservation policy[1]
The Heath trap
Scientific career
InstitutionsMonks Wood Experimental Station

Personal lifeEdit

Born in Worcester on 18 January 1922, his father was an officer in the Indian Army. His father took a teaching job in Southampton and John attended King Edward VI School, Southampton. His interest in entomology developed as a youth spent in and around the Hamble estuary, Hampshire.[1] An intention to go to Cambridge to study electronics did not happen because of army service during the Second World War. John is survived by his son, Nigel and grandson, Sam.


Following service in the army during the war, Heath was employed by the Biological Research Department of Pest Control, near Cambridge from 1947 – 1952. In 1953 Heath joined the Nature Conservancy and was based at the Merlewood Research Station in Cumbria. In 1967 Heath moved to Monkswood Experimental Research Station where he worked until his retirement in 1982 where he was head of the Biological Records Centre.

A founder member and vice-president of the Society of European Lepidopterology, Heath was particularly interested in the Micropterigidae and bequeathed his specimen collection to the Natural History Museum, London. John Heath was chief editor of the Moths and Butterflies of Great Britain and Ireland series, published by Harley Books.[2]


  1. ^ a b c Anon (1988). "Obituary, John Heath (1922–1987)". British Journal of Entomology and Natural History. 1: 113–116. Retrieved 28 June 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. ^ Veness, Vicki. "Manuscript collection of John Heath (1922–1987)". Natural History Museum. Retrieved 25 June 2014. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)apparently no longer obtainable

External linksEdit