Anne Kilmer viceroy at
Thu Sep 23 16:42:26 EDT 1999

Jacob Groth wrote:
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Anne Kilmer wrote:

"If, however, you take all eggs and larvae into your house, lab or
whatever, feed the larvae, and then release them in your garden, you may
be disabling the mechanism that selects bright, careful caterpillars."

I don't believe this would be the case, but even if it is, the mere
would be that these caterpillars would not have successful offspring. 
would have no effect on the wild population whatsoever.  The gene that
"disabled any mechanism" would be eliminated from the gene pool.

You don't understand. Sorry. Let me try again. 
Natural selection eliminates the unfit. If we save all the offspring, it
no longer eliminates them. Now lethal genes can be propagated. 
You may observe this happening in the human race and the species we
choose to adopt.
I think, however, that butterfly rescuers are also favoring some
organisms over others to the detriment of the environment. 
As long as there is plenty of wild land unhampered by our efforts,
probably not a problem. 

Do you realize that the Monarch Watch send off thousands of monarch
caterpillars to schools for educational purposes that are released into
wild?  And that many of these butterflies have been tagged and recovered
Mexico (see 1998 season summary totals at  Even if
is the slightest risk to the butterfly, isn't the education and sheer
delight that is brought to these school children worth the risk? 


No. Not at all. 
They can be educated and delighted, as I have described, by a simple pot
of milkweed or parsley with local bugs on it, if they haven't room for a
garden. And surely in the neighborhood there's a vacant lot the kids can

Such Monarch mavens as Lincoln Brower and (I think) Bob Pyle have
objected to Monarch Watch's distribution of Monarchs, for the reasons we
have cited. 
It's a very large-scale messing with things we don't understand. That's
not the best way to find out about things. 
I agree absolutely with Mike Soukup's last posting.
You are demanding that we allow a few people, who wish to make money
from butterflies, to ply their trade at the expense of quite a few
scientists and other butterfly lovers. 
We are suggesting that they might exploit their farmed butterflies in
other ways. 
Monarch Watch itself was dealt a rude blow, with the major butterfly
release I cited earlier (California butterflies; I can't think why I
wrote Texas.) 
Maybe the Painted Ladies don't matter. The northern ones die; the
southern ones repopulate the area, and done's done, anyway. 
The migration of the Monarchs, a scarcely-understood phenomenon, is  at
risk. Enormous genetic disruptions are taking place and you tell me that
it is harmless because it is happening and because it "delights
Anne Kilmer
south Florida
Anne Kilmer
South florida

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