NOT the collecting debate :-)

Matthew Smith MatSmith1 at
Tue Jun 22 17:20:09 EDT 1999

Message text written by INTERNET:MWalker at
>If you think that I think that the NABA folks were tough, you should see
I'm treated on the trail by day-hiking eco-wanna-be-conscious soccer moms!

Butterflies are cute and popularised.  It is well known by non
entomologists that killing a single butterfly will a)immeadiately cause
that particular species to become extinct and b) cause the collapse of the
world ecosystem as we know it.   Two strategies to deal with these whe
faced with the dreaded "Are you collecting butterflies" question:

1) Answer "NO".  This usually puts a spoke in the works as most people have
the preconceived idea that nets are ONLY for butterflies, and that all
butterflies caught are killed straight away.  The following baffled silence
gives you plenty of opportunity to explain why you have the net out, eg you
have to catch the butterfly to confirm the id and that just occasionally
you need to take voucher specimens for scientific purposes or to collect
species information for habitat management.  etc. etc

2) Tell them you collect wasps, or flies, or beetles or something else less
cuddly than butterflies
than butterflies.  Works every time, the response varies from complete
disbelief (see "What nets are for" in 1), to: "take as many of the nasty
things as you want" .

Either way, you get the chance to talk to your day-hiking
eco-wanna-be-conscious soccer moms and, with luck, disabuse them of some of
their often ill informed ideas about nets, butterfly collections and evil



(Who does actually collect wasps, flies and beetles. 30 years ago I started
off my entomological career collecting butterflies and when I'm doing a
survey some butterflies get netted to confirm their id, then released. 
It's not that I think collecting butterflies is wrong etc, it's just that
these days I am more interested in wasps, flies and beetles.)

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