What is a lepidopterist? - One man's Humble Opinion

Jere Kahanpaa kahanpaa at gstar.astro.helsinki.fi
Wed Jan 30 11:36:20 EST 2002

Dear list readers,

Robert J. Nuelle, Jr. <rnuelle at houston.rr.com> wrote:
> I would like to suggest that there is a definite evolutionary process with
> distinct stages that one moves through in becoming a Lepidopterist.


I found your list both accurate and funny - clever too as it works for 
both observers and more collection-focused persons, amateurs and 

My own career as an amateur entomologists started as an isolated collector
when I was in college. A major change occurred when I moved to Helsinki and
started attending to the meetings of the Finnish Lepidopterologists
Society; soon I was involved in the Finnish newsgroup for lepsters and
latex in studying microlepidoptera. At this time (1995) I also started
following LEPS-L/sci.bio.entomology.lepidoptera.  The expansion to smaller
moths wouldn't probably have happened if microlepidoptera were not a
regular topic on the newsgroup in the last 2 years or so; once a small
group started commenting on their success (or lack thereof) in this field
more and more group regulars started to ask for basic advice and last
spring -- once again after a discussion in the lep newsgroup -- I got
interested in the Finnish fly fauna, which is really, really understudies 
especially when compared with the wealth of up-to-date knowledge we have 
on the lep side.  

I think this makes me a level 3.8 lepidopterologist and a level 2

I hope you don't mind if I forward your 'evolutionary step list' to the
Finnish lep newsgroup mentioned above and the Finnish dipterologists
mailing list?  The Finnish lep newsgroup 'sfnet.harrastus.perhoset' is as
old as LEPS-L (started in 1993) and at least as active. There is ones
major difference between the lists though (besides the language used):
s.h.p.  has so far been rather strongly self-moderated - I recall only one
major heated discussion or flamefest since 1995. The general tone is
usually naturally mellow and very open; this makes it easier for newbies
to chime in. Most active writers are not professionals neither seasoned
specialists but 'at level 2-4', but several highly skilled specialists are
actively following the discussion and quickly reply when their comments
are asked for.  Personally I don't much care about the 'holier than thou'
attitude so often seen on LEPS-L as it probably tends to reduce the number
of newbies following the discussion. Maybe this group needs something 
like the discussion on the uses of vibrators -- in bait traps -- as seen 
on s.h.p.:-)

The diptera list in a recent addition as I created it less
than a year ago, but it already has some 15 members and nearly 400
messages has been list to the list in 9 months.



Jere Kahanpää
It's hard to think outside the box when you ARE the box.
                            - unknown, alt.religion.kibology 


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