Back in 2015 Alan Martin and Jorge Bizarro started work on a guide to the butterflies to accompany the three books already published that are specific to the Serra dos Orgaos area in the state of Rio de Janeiro, south-east Brazil (hawkmoths, dragonflies and birds). What started as a three-year project has taken seven years, partly because the number of species recorded in the area is more than had been anticipated but also because it proved very difficult to source photos of some of the rarer species.
The book covers 803 species (excluding grass skippers) with descriptions, comparisons to similar species, global distribution and notes on the ecology, behaviour and host plants. All but three of the species are illustrated with over 1,300 photos of live specimens or, where not available, photos of pinned specimens. There are also introductory texts for each family, subfamily and tribe.
There are very few books on the butterflies of Brazil, and none that cover all the species of any specific area. Even though the target area is relatively small, many of the species covered are widespread in South America.
Jorge Bizarro was born in Lisbon, Portugal in 1961 but spent his early childhood in East Timor where he developed a love of the tropics. He was educated in Portugal and graduated in medicine from Lisbon University in 1986 with the intention of following a career in tropical medicine. However, after a few years working in hospitals, he changed direction in line with his long-term interests in Lepidoptera and taxonomy, moving into medical entomology in 1992. Between 1996 and 2002, Jorge completed an MSc and PhD at the Parana Federal University (UFPR) in Curitiba, Brazil and then became a university lecturer and consultant in the butterfly breeding industry. In March 2010 he changed direction again and started working part-time at the Reserva Ecologica de Guapiacu (REGUA) in south-east Brazil as their research coordinator. This work includes the coordination of a wide range of student and post-graduate projects, training courses and workshops as well as promoting an interest in Lepidoptera amongst the many visitors to the reserve, both national and from overseas. This role also allows him time to continue his own research including the study of butterfly host plants, caterpillars and their life cycles and to participate in the national workshops for
establishing the Red List of Brazilian butterflies.
Born in 1953, Alan Martin graduated with a degree in Business Studies in 1976 and then trained and worked as a professional accountant in the UK until he took early retirement in 2008. He now lives in south-east England and spends much of his time doing voluntary work for conservation organisations in the UK and overseas. Amongst others, he has served on the boards of organisations such as the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, the British Trust for Ornithology, Wetlands International, Butterfly Conservation and the World Land Trust, and is currently a Council member of the Rainforest Trust in the USA. From 2014-19 he also served on the board of Hutan Harapan, a 100,000 ha conservation project in Sumatra, Indonesia. Alan has been involved with the REGUA project in south-east Brazil since its inception in 2001 and is a trustee of the REGUA Association as well as being the secretary of the Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest Trust which provides support and funding. He has been a keen birdwatcher since his school days, but in more recent years has become increasingly interested in Lepidoptera. In 2011 he was the lead author of A Guide to the Hawkmoths of the Serra dos Orgaos, working with Jorge Bizarro and Alexandre Soares of the National Museum of Natural History in Rio de Janeiro.
"[...] this book is a worthy companion for anyone who heads to Brazil's Atlantic Forest, even if butterflies are not your main focus. However, its weight and dimensions will probably preclude all but the keenest (or youngest) users from carrying it in the field. [...]"
– Guy M. Kirwan, Atropos 68, 2021