Release of specimens

Ron Gatrelle gatrelle at
Sat Oct 14 05:42:46 EDT 2000

    I sometimes wonder who it is that the Fish and Wildlife Service gets
there taxonomic junk from. (Actually, I do know.) Dumbed down taxonomy is
the only reason they would allow the unregulated release of Papilio
polyxenes asterius anywhere in the US (if this is indeed the case). No
subspecies should ever be introduced into an area of another subspecies --
or even transitional populations.
    Papilio polyxenes coloro is the subspecies in the far southwest.
Further, the polyxenes in the extreme southern tip of Florida are
"different." They may actually be P. polyxenes polyxenes in the broad
evolutional sense, or in a state of evolution where they should be kept
"away" from northern asterius and vise versa. The jury is actually still out
on Heraclides cresphontes also. Some are reassessing the northern population
relative to its host association and ability to overwinter. These may well
not warrant subspecific standing (which they had 40 years ago). But the
northern and southern "forms" should not be thrown together either.
    Now I am going to get nasty on this one. Hey, P. rapae is an exotic
PEST. It should be eliminated like fire ants. Rapae has driven virginiensis
out of much of its former range. Rapae causes millions (if not billions) of
dollars worth of crop loss in this country every year. We are just lucky
that P. brassicae is not here, yet. If you don't want to see Bt cabbage,
then quit planting rapae!
    I am all for the release and reinforcement of ANY taxon by artificial
means (rearing and release) into a weak population of the same subspecies.
But not USDA listed pests! You can rear all the cockroaches you want, but
don't release the cute little buggers in my yard. Remember, I have a sense
of responsibility to MY family, and MY home. This is MY oppinion.

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