Vicar of the Amazon, the Rev. Arthur Miles Moss. In the footsteps of Alfred Russel Wallace and Henry Bates.


Prof Philip Howse’s book Vicar of the Amazon, chronicles the life of the Rev. Arthur Miles Moss, a little-known genius who explored the Amazon, collecting and breeding butterflies and moths in period from 1903 to 1947 – a period during which little about the Amazon and its natural history became known to the world.

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About This Book

Miles Moss went to Peru in 1907 and from 1912 to 1945 was the Anglican Chaplain of the largest parish in the world, one that encompassed the whole of the Amazon basin from Iquitos in Peru to the Atlantic; an area roughly 3,000 miles long and 800 miles wide, amounting to about one quarter of the South American continent. His great passion was Lepidoptera: his major contributions to science were in the form of three classic works on hawk-moths and swallowtail butterflies, all published in the journal of his patron Lord Walter Rothschild who established Tring Museum containing the largest collection of butterflies and moths in the world.

Following in the wake of great Victorian naturalists such as Wallace and Bates, Moss’ story has been neglected: apart from his publications in scientific journals he left a collection of 25,000 insects, unpublished manuscripts on Amazonian natural history, and some incredibly beautiful water-colours of bizarre-looking caterpillars now archived in the Natural History Museum in South Kensington.

“This book helps bring Moss out of obscurity, and showcases his incredible work as one of the early naturalists captivated by the beauty and diversity of South American Lepidoptera.” 

Prof Thomas Hossie of Trent University