Glassberg & Collecting....

mbpi at mbpi at
Thu Jan 10 19:02:45 EST 2002

Hello all...

I don't think it is an impossibility that a small, localized population
of a particular species can be extirpated.  If the Passenger Pigeon could
be wiped out by "collecting" it for its culinary attributes, then why not
a butterfly?  Certainly the degrading of prime habitat contributes to the
demise of population dynamics, but over-collecting would seem to be a
threat to such degraded habitats, regardless of the reason for
collecting.  The term "collecting" is generic, at best.

Here in Illinois, there was a population of Karner Blues in Illinois
Beach State Park, that was "alledgedly" wiped-out by over-zealous
collectors.  The last Karner Blue was documented in the aforementioned
area, I believe, in the 80's, or possibly earlier.  I don't remember all
the specifics, but I'm sure it has been documented by the State of
Illinois somewhere in their archives.  I DO know that they are hoping to
reinstate it by planting more lupines in its former habitat.

What I find most fascinating about this current "topic of angst," is that
only yesterday, I dropped off a bunch of NABA "American Butterfly"
publications to the Curator of Leps where I work; and when I tracked him
down later in the day, I discovered he was writing a "review" of the new
edition of "Butterflies Through Binoculars" for the Eastern part of the
country...and lo and behold, he had stumbled upon (or perhaps already had
been warned about), the editorial Jeff G. had written on the Miami Blue,
and was all "bent out of shape," by Jeff's "exposing" the area of concern
in his editorial (!)  I wasn't quite sure "why" this bothered him since
he is a collector (though moth-oriented), but I was at a loss as to how
to repond to his obvious disturbance.  Next thing I knew, it was the "big
topic" on this listserv!

Somehow, I feel "responsible" for this current thread (!)

M.B. Prondzinski
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