Butterfly Dealers

w2mxw at nospam.com w2mxw at nospam.com
Mon Jun 7 18:36:22 EDT 1999

Most of them are selling livestock for the major zoos,  whose
butterfly houses have become a popular attraction. More of these open
at zoos every year.  A dealer I know who sells mainly Saturniidae does
an annual volume in the several thousand range to such buyers, and he
is a one-man operation. Universities doing research (Max Planck
Institute, U. of Wisconsin, etc.) buy certain species in huge
quantities. Wedding releases are also grossing large volumes of
material as they become more popular (unfortunately). Collectors of
adult papered material make up the minority of sales, in terms of
volume per individual, but there are many collectors, especially in
Europe. I recently received snail-mail 'spam'  from a Mexican company
which offered Central American species as papered adults, wild
collected. (I guess once you're on the Lepidopterists' Society mailing
list...) Personally, I think that Lepidoptera should not be turned
into a corporate mega-giant profit-oriented business, like everything
else these days- it ruins the enjoyment when profit becomes the prime
motive. (And concerns about release of non-indigenous genomes,
pathogens, etc. tend to be glossed over when money is involved). Let's
stick with the research, science, and appreciation of Lepidoptera for
their own sake, as interesting and beautiful wild creatures, not as
'units of inventory'.
                                                -  Jon,  W2MXW
                                a fellow Ham and an avid Lepidopterist

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