museum 'poachers'

Grkovich, Alex agrkovich at
Wed Apr 10 11:39:29 EDT 2002

	Martin Bailey wrote:

> So I pose this question to you:  Why must you add to your collection
> specimens that you will never get enough examples of to make meaningful
> comparative analyses? Where the addition of that specimen to your
> collection
> will not advance our knowledge of the species in question.
> Martin Bailey,
> greetings from:  Weyburn, SK., Canada.
>                          49.39N  103.51W
	[AG]  Excellent question. Why collect either "trash bugs" (to quote
Norbert, I laughed and howled at this term of his), and what exactly defines
a "trophy"?

	First, in the late 80's and early 90's, I collected, for example, a
good series of "Common" Ringlets (Coenonympha tullia inornata) (correctly
referred to as Inornate Ringlets)  from central NH and Maine. Some years
later, I finally got around to spreading most of them. Then I added a number
of specimens from Mass and a few from VT. As they were essentially, as I
said, "trash bugs", I could have just as easily just "given" them away or
just let them sit there endlessly in stamp envelopes.

	Then the question occurred to me not that long ago: The "Common"
Ringlet has quite recently expanded its range into southern New England. (It
is not even mentioned by Klots as occurring at all in New England, although
I suspect that is oversight- it probably has occurred n the Canadian Zone in
New England all along) From where did it expand into say, eastern MA? From
the north or from the west? I have begun to arrange my series of this
butterfly to at least get a preliminary clue about this, if possible. I
suspect (without having examined enough specimens to date) that it MAY have
come from the west, from central New York.

	What seems interesting is that, while the species has recently
spread into southern New England, it has apparently not done so in the Upper
Midwest; for example, while occurring abundantly in the Canadian Zone of
northern Michigan and Ontario, I have never found it or heard of it from
southwestern Ontario, southern Michigan etc.

	By the way, an excellent compilation of photographs of the various
taxa of C. t. inornata, heinemanii, macissaci   etc.(I trust I've spelled
the names correctly - I don't have the books here with me) from the
northeast (Quebec, northern New York, Maritime Provinces etc.) can be fouind
in Louis Handfield's book, "Le Guide des Papillons du Quebec" (Mark, I
recommend this book!).

	Also, my two specimens of Papilio polydamas, from St. Thomas, USVI,
would probably qualify as a "trophies" to many people. I will probably never
utilize them in any "research" (but who knows). But my purpose (or
motivation or interest) is to build as complete a reference (or
"scientific") collection as possible. And anyway, I chased the first one for
about 4 hours before I caught it, (once tripping badly, while running, on a
big rock that was hidden in the deep grass) so perhaps I have earned the


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