Removing legs in nets...

Bill Cornelius billcor at
Thu Jun 14 02:04:11 EDT 2001

I found that Papilios & Monarchs are more prone to broken legs than smaller

Kenelm Philip wrote:

>  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
> injured.
>  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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