Butterfly release debate

Paul Cherubini cherubini at mindspring.com
Fri Oct 13 13:08:53 EDT 2000

Pat Foley wrote:

> You are unaware of any diseases of monarch butterflies. 
> This is not a very persuasive argument. I am not an insect 
> pathologist, but a visit to the library would surely turn up 
> something, or a visit to the microscope. If you seriously 
> believe that monarch butterflies harbor no fungi, no bacteria,
> no viruses, no transposons, no parasites whatsoever, then 
> you should demonstrate that and win a Nobel prize in medicine.

Pat, I wrote: "No outbreaks of any infectious diseases have been 
known to occur in wild populations of the monarch butterfly." 
By this I mean the large annual fluctuations in monarch 
populations have never been linked to any infectious diseases.

> Which species are open for release and where?

As I stated in my earlier post, this was decided several years ago
by the US Federal Government:

The Monarch, Painted Lady, Red Admiral, Buckeye, Giant 
Swallowtail, Black Swallowtail, Gulf Fritillary, Zebra 
(Heliconian), and Mourning Cloak may be released in any of 
the 48 states where these species naturally range. 

Monarchs and painted ladies account for nearly all releases. The 
other species are either too fragile to withstand overnight shipping
and handling (as adults) or they are too difficult to rear 
economically in any quantity. In fact, only one company ships
Painted Ladies in large quantities and only as larvae and pupae. 

Paul Cherubini

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