Removing legs in nets...

Kenelm Philip fnkwp at
Fri Jun 8 01:41:18 EDT 2001

	There was a thread recently on the topic of legs (and antennae)
being inadvertently removed from butterflies while they were being netted
and examined for determination. It was claimed that the proportion of
injured individuals was quite high.

	A couple of days ago I had occasion to collect 37 specimens near
Fairbanks. At the time of collecting I was not thinking about legs at
all, nor trying to be careful not to remove them. I was, in fact, using
the 'pinching' technique, which involves using firm pressure on the ventral
thorax--which tends to be a bit hard on legs.

	The next morning I went through the catch, and then remembered the
Leps-L discussion about legs. So I checked each specimen for the 4  walking
legs (these were all Nymphalidae). _One_ specimen was lacking one of the
2nd legs--the others had all their legs intact. Since I was taking no
special precautions with legs, I conclude that it is possible to net and
handle butterflies without much loss of legs. No antennae were visibly

	I have been handling butterflies for over 60 years--so perhaps I
have learned how to do it. But can it be _that_ difficult?

							Ken Philip
fnkwp at


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