Insect Regulations

Kenelm Philip fnkwp at
Mon Dec 20 04:01:00 EST 1999

> The idea of killing something before botheriung to ask what it is, let
> alone if it is harmful deserves a few descriptive terms attached to
> it: abominable...

I have to disagree with Pierre here. Some years ago a moth specialist
wanted to investigate the microleps of one of the Channel Islands off
California. He applied to the NPS for a permit--and was told he would
be allowed to collect only one of each species (!). After he explained to
the NPS people that it can take as long as 10 years after you capture
some micros before you have indentified what you caught, they reluctantly
agreed to allow him to capture reasonable samples of whatever he came
across, not knowing at the time whether any given moth was new or not.

	If you don't collect anything that you don't already know about,
you'll never come up with much in the way of new species. And if you wait
to collect your type series until you know, from field observation, the
complete life history of a putative new species, we wouldn't have even a
fraction of the information we now have on tropical biodiversity.

	When I made my first field trip to the Magadanskaya Oblast' (NE
Russia) in 1978, you'd better believe I picked up every species of butter-
fly I saw, even though (better: especially though) I did not know at the
time exactly what I had in many cases. 

						    Ken Philip
fnkwp at

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