No subject

Dr. James Adams jadams at
Wed May 6 09:22:47 EDT 1998

Gary Anweiler wrote:

> I agree Mark!!  One of lifes little mysteries for me is that I am one of
> very few people I know who kills butterflies and moths deliberately, but
> also the only one I know who actively tries to miss them when doing  60 mph
>down the highway in my vehicle (easier with butterflies than moths)!

I, too, do this.  I believe it has everything to do with the 
scientific value of the specimen.  As long as you keep good data with 
the specimen, it has the intrinsic value as a specimen, and the 
extrinisic value as to flight time, range, etc.  A specimen smashed 
and shredded on the grill of a car has certainly little aesthetic 
value, dimished intrinsic use (damaged or missing parts) and, unless 
you are very good at watching mileage markers and noting when you hit 
specimens, the locality information is also lost. I have, on occasion 
however, recovered butterfly and moth specimens even from the grill 
of the car (the only Nymphalis vau-album I have in my collection was 
hit crossing a winding road in Idaho -- I was moving slow enough to 
know what it was when I hit it, stopped immediately and ended up 
with a surprisingly unmangled specimen).  I will admit, in my younger 
impulsive days that I did purposely hit a Palamedes Swallowtail with 
the car -- this was the first I had ever seen and I'd always wanted 
one since the time I was a child.  This is the only time I ever 
purposely used the car as a collecting tool, and you can be 
guaranteed that the specimen is still in my collection with full 
data.  Don't think I'd do it again.  And Gary's point about the moths 
is certainly well taken.  Much harder to miss those moths at night, 
and also harder to keep track of what you hit when.

Anyone else with unusual stories like this (accidentally/purposely    
using the car as a collecting tool)?  On the accidental side, I got a 
lovely Phaneus dung beetle this way one time, and got a county record 
for Papilio multicaudatus in west Texas.  For anyone who is bothered 
by the use of the car as a collecting tool, just remember that most 
of the public makes absolutely no use of the millions upon millions 
of specimens that they hit each year.


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