SE Arizona Butterfly Counts and Collecting on Counts

Robert Dana robert.dana at
Sat May 26 19:45:06 EDT 2001

Don't know whether there are any of the anti-collecting persuasion subscribed to this list, but maybe someone can enlighten me who is familiar with their philosophy: do they slap mosquitoes? and if so, what's the difference--are leps a higher "order" of being? or is it that mosquitoes are too abundant to be imperilled by our killing them and butterflies are not? If the latter, then some finer distinctions need to be made, at the species level at least. The first position is going to be hard to defend, at least on any scientific basis.

Robert Dana

>>> Hank & Priscilla Brodkin <hankb at> 5/26/01 11:57:55 AM >>>
For the southeastern Arizona butterfly count schedule and contacts go to

Please note that most of Fourth of July Butterfly Counts have been in
existence many years.  The program was started (correct me if I am
wrong) by the Xerces Society, a society whose only mission is the
conservation of invertebrates, long before NABA was organized.  Most of
the folks who took part in these counts did (and still do) collect
specimens of difficult to seperate and unusual for their count species.
NABA has taken this program under it's wing. But I see nothing in NABA's
rules for conducting the counts prohibiting the use of nets. 

In our part of the country, especially during the monsoon season, we get
many species that invade from Mexico.  For these unusual and unexpected
(and non-endangered) species we need either a recognizable photograph or
a specimen to have them accepted on the count list.  This is the way
these counts have always been conducted. We let our members know in
advance that, unlike on our field trips where no collecting is allowed
and even the use of nets for catch and release is strongly discouraged,
species on counts that are unusual in our area will be collected by some
of the participants. Therefor a member can search his or conscience and
decide whether or not to participate.

Comparing counting insects with counting birds is a specious argument. 
A bird is a relatively large organism that will usually stick around
long enough to be verified.  If it is not - and the count is being run
properly - you had better be able to convince the compiler and the
editors of your sightings.

Please my fellow NABA members - let us not loose sight of the reason for
NABA's existence; "NABA is interested in all aspects of netless
butterfly appreciation including observation, identification, gardening,
photography, and observation".  NABA's reason for being (please correct
me if I am wrong) has absolutley nothing to do with telling members or
non-members how to conduct themselves in legal pursuit of their
NABA's credo certainly does not insist that we set ourselves up as
anti-net nazis.

	             Hank & Priscilla Brodkin
	          Carr Canyon, Cochise County, AZ
                   Send Mailto:hankb at 
             SouthEast Arizona Butterfly Association
         "Butterflies of Arizona - a Photographic Guide" 
    by Bob Stewart, Priscilla and Hank Brodkin - due September 2001


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