Commercial selling of butterflies

Peter VerHage pverhag at
Thu Jul 2 18:41:08 EDT 1998

I am currently working at the Chicago Field Museum on an outdoor butterfly
exhibit.  As a guide, I have been asked many times about the environmental
problems associated with buying and releasing butterflies at weddings, and
other parties.  Our current position is that only Monarchs and Painted
Ladies should be bought since all other species would be released into gene
pools that are not their own, potentially damaging the entire population.
However as I have done a short survey of the internet I have noticed that
there are quite a few sites selling many different species of butterflies.
This raises a few questions for me.  One, what butterflies are legal to
sell commercially?  If it is more than just the migratory species, what is
the reasoning behind the laws?  And has there been any effort to change
these laws in favor of higher restrictions on the selling of butterflies?
These questions are very important to me since I am potentially doing my
senior thesis on this subject.  So I would appreciate receiving as much and
as detailed information as is possible.  THank you in advance for any help
you could give.


Peter VerHage

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