Professor Colin Smith


Colin was born in Brighton in 1927. He was a leading authority on Medieval Spanish literature, being Professor of Spanish at St. Catherine's College, Cambridge between 1975-1990. He wrote a number of texts, and was the compiler for the Collins Spanish/English Dictionary, which is one of the best dictionaries available.

He joined the AES in the late 1960s, having an interest in both micro and macro moths, conservation and, not surprisingly, entomological literature. In 1990 he was the first person to record in Britain, in Sussex, the Noctuid moth Agrochola haematidea. Colin is responsible for its common name, the "Southern Chestnut" (he personally ranked this find as one of his most worthwhile achievements). This moth is a scarce Mediterranean species and had been known only from the Iberian peninsular and certain parts of south-west France. The new colony turned out to be a well-established one, and is believed to have been there since the end of the last glaciation. At the time its life history was unknown, but Colin, with a close friend (Gerry Haggett of Caston in Norfolk) managed to breed it and document its life history. They worked closely with English Nature to produce a conservation strategy. It has an unusual flight pattern in that it flies for about half-an-hour around dusk in late October. The foodplant is Erica sp.

Details of the moth new to Britain were published in 1993, Entomologist Gazette, 44: 183-203 with line drawings and two coloured plates.

Colin worked with the Cambridge Wildlife Trust for many years and published a number of items, including 'Nature in Cambridgeshire', which details many of his finds in his garden at Girton. In recent years he spent much time on the moths of East Anglia, in collaboration with Rafe Eley. His extensive collection of microlepidoptera now lies in the Zoology Department at Cambridge. The bulk of his very extensive moth collection is now owned by an AES member.

The Colin Smith Award was given for the best entomological exhibit at our Northern Exhibition by an adult member of the Society.