All these "sales" lately

Mark Walker mwalker at
Thu Apr 30 12:40:06 EDT 1998

I'm going to make this reply to Doug Yanega's post before reading the 4 or 5
other responses that I see are piling in my IN basket.

First of all, I must admit that the solicitation of specimens has begun to
bother me also.  As I have defended collecting many times on this list/NG,
it has always been with the implication that collectors are themselves the
most interested in preservation of species and habitat.  The logic here is
two-fold:  First, collectors are themselves enamored by nature and the
natural world.  They are environmentalists by virtue of the amount of time
they spend in(dream about) the environment.  Second, they love what they do
so much that the last thing they would ever want to see would be fewer

Now not everyone who "collects" insects actually catches them.  However,
someone still has to catch them, and as long as that person matches my above
description then the situation should not get out of hand.  Unfortunately,
when certain specimens are commanding several dollars each, the motivation
to overcollect is increased.  I've seen it in the field, and it has always
bothered me.

I don't want to slam folks who are legitimately involved in responsible
buying and selling, but to me it is somewhat bothersome when dollar values
are placed on these exoskeletons.  I suppose this is why I hesitate to even
trade them.  As I have mentioned before, I am still attempting to collect
all of my specimens myself.  I am beginning to warm up to the idea of
trading, as it is much easier to visit exotic places via UPS.  But as soon
as you begin looking at your collection as a set of collectables, your
motivation for paying for certain ones will begin to grow.  If you have the
resources, I suppose there is no end to what you'd be willing to pay for (or
how much you'd be willing to pay).  This scenario is very, very bad for
everyone.  It works well with stamps and coins, but not for living (or
previously living) things.

I will not sell any of my collection.  Unless I die an untimely death and my
children decide to sell it off to buy Krafts macaroni and cheese, it is my
desire that my collection will end up in some obscure museum somewhere.

This is my opinion, and where it infringes on others whom I may not
completely understand, I tend to be less dogmatic.  Now, try and tell me
that my collecting behavior is unethical or inappropriate, and you'll get an

Bottom line:  we all should work together to discourage illegal collecting
or trafficking.  We must not be passive about the potential of this medium
to be used for illegal (and detrimental) purposes.

Mark Walker
Castleton, VT

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