Grilled Bugs

Mark Walker mwalker at
Wed May 6 17:13:30 EDT 1998

James Adams wrote:

> 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.

When I first started collecting, this was one of my principal collecting
techniques.  Back in the 1960's, road trips were quite popular.  My parents
were sympathetic to my collecting impulses, and generally tolerated my
disappearing for 15 minutes at every food/potty stop, but they wouldn't
screech on the brakes very often in between.  This, coupled with the fact
that I was really not a very good netter at 10 years old, resulted in my
making frequent grill inspections.

I remember peeling off several very nice specimens this way, but the
greatest value was just in investigating and ID'ing the myriad of bugs that
you could find.  U.S. 99 and U.S. 66 were my two favorite highways.

During really active months, I would actually inspect other people's
vehicles.  The A&W Root Beer stands were always good for this.  Sometimes,
when too embarrassed to fuss with someone else's grill, I would find myself
ruining a perfectly good Mama Burger (these were just right for a youngster
of my stature), overwhelmed by nervous anxiety, that big fat swallowtail
pinned underneath the guy from Oklahoma's front bumper.  Alas, Papilionidae
were always so hard to catch when I was under 5 feet tall.

As an editorial note, they just don't make radiator grills like they used
to...  Cars are just too ergonomic, I guess.

Mark Walker
Castleton, VT

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