[LEPS-L:7969] Re: Why collect moths?

Mike Soukup mikayak at mdo.net
Wed Nov 22 13:51:25 EST 2000

Had to respond!

There are a few reasons I gravitated towards moths, as opposed to b-flies.  First,
I live in Maryland.  As a young'un, my big brother had to make a collection for
science class, and, as usual, I was also enlisted in the project.  I quickly found
out that we had LOTS more moths than butterflies in our area.  And, as my interest
continued and grew, I quickly found that I wasn't  catching any "new"
butterflies...just the same old Swallowtails.  Of, course, my collecting trips were
limited to 10-speed range.  Then, a friend came home West Virginia with all sorts
of Saturniids and Sphingiids I had only seen in books.  I was hooked.  I began
searching for well lit areas locally and soon had quite an impressive moth
collection.  After catching the obvious giants, sphinxes and Catocalas, I began on
Notodontiids, Arctiids, Geometers...and on and on (and on and on and on.......)....

    Then, like Anne said compare and contrast the two following collecting trips:

In November of 1998, I found myself standing in a field, net in hand,  in Puerto
Vallarta Mexico.  It was a beautiful day...90 degrees plus.  The field was filled
with blooms and thousands of butterflies were everywhere.  Of course, every plant
and and animal in the field also stung, bit, or was venemous in some way.  So, I
was dressed head to toe, including boots, long dungarees, long sleeve shirt, vest,
hat, running at breakneck speed across some pitted field, completely soaked to the
point of disgusting with sweat, chasing some fool Swallowtail, then having to
de-burr my net for the next 15 minutes (after I missed it!) while I wheezed and
panted, hoping not to drop dead of a massive coronary where I'd be eaten by local

Compared to:

    In February, I was in Costa Rica.  I was in Quepos, West Coast, along the
Pacific.  The resort was called Tulimar, and it consisted of round bungalows
sitting on the side of a mountain, over-looking the ocean, right next to, and
actually in, the Manuel Antonio National Forest - in short, paradise.  I clipped my
lights onto the outside of the bungalow and turned them on.  Then, I went to
dinner.  Then, off to the Casino for awhile.  I then returned "home", and, while
sipping Chardonnay, I carefully collected what was wanted, then left the rest for
the birds (incredible in thier beauty and leftover lepidopterous ingestive
capabilities!).  Then, I spent the day kayaking and snorkeling on the beach.

Now THATS the way to collect!!!!

GHG3 wrote:

> For fun, I want to throw this old question out to all of you, and challenge you
> to answer in one sentence:  Why collect moths?
> If you choose to respond, let's keep the answer nice.  No degrading comments to
> those who do not collect what you collect.
> The best answer I ever got to that question came about 25 years ago, when I
> invited myself to observe my pediatrician's (Dr. Dave Winter) collection.  He
> was an avid hobbyist, and did not study moths for a living.  So after he had
> enthusiastically and colorfully explained to me the wonderful diversity in
> moths, I asked him the question that he thought he had already answered:  "Why
> did you choose to collect moths?"
> He said:  "Well, I work during the day."
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