Pyrgus centaureae wyandot

Neil Jones Neil at
Wed May 17 09:10:54 EDT 2000

In article <45F8A30CE009D2118F850000F805064D01AC63DB at>
           MWalker at "Mark Walker" writes:

> anneevans at wrote:
> > 
> > Mark Walker Wrote:
> > > Yep - overcollecting happens each time you drive your > car 
> > up into the backroads
> > > of NC to take your pictures. 
> > 
> > Oh come on!. This simply isn't right. A collector targets 
> > specific things unless you drive a 
> > super intelligent car it doesn't just drive at the rare
> > butterflies. 
> > I'm sure something must have been wiped out 
> > by bad collectors. Not that they are all bad.
> > 
> > > It also happens every time they bulldoze another
> > > empty lot that is paid for by your contributions to > 
> > >McDonalds, Sears, Chevron,
> > > and Blockbuster Video. 
> > 
> > Well. I won't eat at McDonalds. I care about my health
> > and they have a terrible reputation for trashing rainforests.
> The point is simple:  whether you like to admit it or not, you are daily
> contributing to the elimination of butterfly habitat - which is the
> predominant reason that certain leps are disappearing.  I don't like
> hypocritical finger pointing.

Before I say anything let me start with my standard dislaimer on these 
matters. I don't want to see collecting banned!

No Mark, the point is not that simple. The matter being talked about is
the collecting of a RARE SPECIES.  Now I don't want to get into the 
argument about whether a particular instance of collecting is right
or wrong but you were giving the old " you kill more butterflies with the
windshield of your car argument" Frankly, it doesn't hold water. If
you are going to argue from a moral point of view, for example, the question
of intent comes into it. If a person is driving safely with a properly
maintained car etc. and a child runs out and is knocked down and killed
the person is not charged with murder.

Some people think killing insects is wrong in itself. I DO NOT!
However predating rare species BY CHOICE is not an acceptable behaviour
to me.
> I selectively collect and kill insects - I know where to find them, and I
> know the difference between what I should collect and what I should not
> collect.  If I find things I should not collect in places where I didn't
> expect them, then that is good news for all of us.  If I look for things I
> expect and don't find them, that is also pertinent information that should
> be shared.  The voucher specimens that I take home are not in any way
> detrimental to existing populations.  If they were, I would be the first to
> know - no one else would have to tell me - and I would not collect them.

Yes Mark, you are a responsible caring person who understands the need
for conservation. That is obvious. I do not maintain a collection of 
butterflies. I do occasionally kill insect specimens to study them
 get them identified etc. I do not want my study banned, but I am deeply
worried when the study of insects is defended by arguments that are so
transparently false. This "windshields" argument does a great disservice
to entomology. 

People do target the rare. They target the rare photograph and the rare
experience. I as a photographer have photographs of the Palos Verdes Blue
and the Quino and Bay Checkerspots. You will know just how rare these are. 
As for our lifestyles causing the distruction of habitat. Well of course
there are social factors. The strange thing is that eating "Muckburgers":-) or
having a video player etc. does not necessarily help in making people happy.
I don't eat at burger bars since I want to stay healthy as a matter of
personal choice. I don't have a video player either or a car. (I used to have a
car but now I find I can save the expense.) The fact is that we can have
a good happy lifestyle and save the environment.

> I'm sure there are bad collectors - greedy collectors.  I'm not sure they
> are as prevalent as the media has come to represent them.  But as long as
> there is a market for something, human nature has proven to exploit it.
> Personally, I make no money on Leps - so as far as I'm concerned, I'm not a
> suspect.
> Mark Walker.

Neil Jones- Neil at
"At some point I had to stand up and be counted. Who speaks for the
butterflies?" Andrew Lees - The quotation on his memorial at Crymlyn Bog
National Nature Reserve

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