scarce vs local

Kondla, Norbert FOR:EX Norbert.Kondla at
Thu Aug 24 18:57:41 EDT 2000

Absolutely.  In parts of the world that have been well explored for
butterflies one can use known distribution data with a degree of confidence.
This happy situation does not apply to northwestern North America where only
a few of us keeners spend any significant amount of field time with net in
hand over a vast landscape. Interpretation of published distribution data
must be done with caution - see for example some comments on this point in a
conference paper  I
continue to be amazed at what I find in supposedly well known places,
including those that I have visited before personally. Many Hairstreaks that
use woody plants for host plants seem to be unusually difficult to find
since they apparently spend more time sitting and walking amongst the leaves
than they do flying and catching the eye of observers.  The usefulness of
transect counts for such cryptic species is an interesting consideration -
what one sees and the actual abundance of insects are often two entirely
different matters.

-----Original Message-----
From: James J. Kruse [mailto:kruse at NATURE.BERKELEY.EDU]
Sent: Thursday, August 24, 2000 3:08 PM
To: leps-l at
Subject: Re: scarce vs local

I think another important dimention to "rare" is: "rare in 
collections". Habitat may be inaccessible to people, the insect may fly
over a very short period when researchers are not normally afield, it
is commonly misidentified as a widespread species, it is easily
overlooked because 10,000 5 inch moths bomb in (ha ha Bruce), the insect
may not be attracted to light, bait, etc. Such a critter would be easily
classified as "rare" but it doesn't mean it is worthy of protection. That
could change of course.

Interesting thread,
Jim Kruse
University of California at Berkeley
Dept. of Environ Sci, Policy and Mgmt.
Div. of Insect Biology
201 Wellman Hall
Berkeley, California, 94720-3112
Voice: (510) 642-7410    Fax: (510) 642-7428

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