Obituary: Esteemed researcher held “many a leaf-mine hunt” in Norfolk

Dr John Langmaid - also known as "JRL" - was a leading amateur lepidopterist who held many leaf-mine hunts in Norfolk 

An esteemed researcher: Dr John Langmaid - also known as "JRL" - was a leading amateur lepidopterist who held many leaf-mine hunts in Norfolk - Credit: Sarah Patton

An esteemed researcher who regularly spent time searching for micro-moths in Norfolk has died. 

Dr John Rendle Langmaid, a retired general practitioner, became one of the UK’s leading amateur lepidopterists and held “many a leaf-mine hunt”.

A well-respected individual among his European colleagues, he had a particular interest in the British microlepidoptera fauna and their life histories.  

Dr Langmaid was also a Marsh Charitable Trust Award recipient in 2009, and once the joint editor – with the late Maitland Emmet – of The Moths and Butterflies of Great Britain and Ireland and an associate editor. 

His work has been described as “exceptionally accurate, painstaking and professional, setting a new higher standard for others to follow." 

Friend and colleague of more than 20 years, Sarah Patton paid tribute to Dr Langmaid via a poignant post on social media. 

It read: “John was a giant in the world of entomology, specifically moths and in particular micro-moths. 

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“By profession a medical doctor, he described himself as a ‘superannuated quack’ although he shunned the title of GP in favour of 'family doctor'. 

“John was always happy to help beginners who were interested in learning. He was a self-effacing man who never made people feel inadequate and patiently answered questions for generations of entomologists. 

“John had a lovely sense of humour and was good company […] a very gentle man (as well as a true gentleman). 

“Most people with a serious interest in moths will own at least one book he edited or authored. 

“He leaves the world – and the moth community – a poorer place without him.”  

Jim Wheeler, of Norfolk Moths, added: “He led many a leaf-mine hunt in the county, finding several county firsts over the years. His knowledge of micro-moths was unsurpassed.” 

Affectionately known as “JRL” in the moth-recording world, Dr Langmaid died at the age of 87 in Southsea, Portsmouth, on March 2. The funeral took place on March 23 in Havant, near Portsmouth, and donations were collected for Butterfly Conservation, a British charity devoted to saving butterflies, moths and their habitats throughout the UK. He leaves behind family and friends.