Insect Regulations

Neil Jones Neil at
Sun Dec 19 17:39:17 EST 1999

In article <60F1FEB31CA3D211A1B60008C7A45F43088F239D at>
           Norbert.Kondla at "Kondla, Norbert FOR:EX" writes:

> I agree with Ken's observations about not unthinkingly extending to insects
> the same concepts we use with vertebrates.  I would extend this to
> conservation issues because of the following example: (apologies in advance
> if my dated information is incorrect); This has to do with Boloria acrocnema
> and perceptions/dataless allegations of "intense" collecting pressure as a
> justification for listing it as endangered. 

I sincerely do not wish to start the collecting debate again.
I do NOT wish to see collecting banned.

Now that I have made that clear let me deal with the facts. The stuff about
intense collecting of Boloria acrocnema is true. I don't have the exact papers
to hand but it concerned the case of the three guys who were prosecuted a 
while ago. I am being circumspect in my descriptions because one of them
used to inflict his "historic" postings on the list as part of his
community service. Those who were around at the time will understand. Those
who were not could try searching the archives for "vegetarian eco-nazis"
and "loch ness monster"

For those from other corners of the globe B. acrocnema is the 
 Uncompaghre Fritillary. Confined to one or perhaps two or so
colonies in some high US mountains, it is one of those peculiar
wonders of the entomological world a glacial relict. The population
being the decendants of an ancient race that were left behind in the 
wake of the receding glaciers at the end of the last ice age.

Whilst it is true that insects do have a greater fecundity than mammals this
does not mean that increased predation cannot affect them and collecting
is just predation by Homo sapiens. This is particularly so when there 
are a minority of obsessive humans like the "Gentlemen" mentioned above who
will stop at nothing to get as many specimens of rare creatures as possible.
20% predation is a comparatively low level for what can be achieved by 
collecting. Indeed I do recall a paper on the Heath Fritillary Mellitea athalia
where it was demonstrated that 80% of the population could be collected in a
single day.
Furthermore there is the example of the New Forest Burnet Moth
Zygaena viciae yetenensis which was extirpated here in the UK in the 1920's
after the expert collectors of the day predicted that the predations of dealers
would lead to this outcome.

Now from my point of view the survival of this glory of nature takes precidence
over the desire of a few individuals to own a specimen. My belief is that
with such a rare and precious creature we should take care and follow the
principle expounded by medical practitioners - first of all do no harm.

Neil Jones- Neil at
"At some point I had to stand up and be counted. Who speaks for the
butterflies?" Andrew Lees - The quotation on his memorial at Crymlyn Bog
National Nature Reserve

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