What is a lepidopterist

Chris J. Durden drdn at mail.utexas.edu
Thu Jan 31 12:08:05 EST 2002

    A hundred years ago many ornithologists like lepidopterists, were 
amateurs and even some of the professionals lacked degrees. This was a 
happy situation, engendered by respect for knowledge.
    In the interim, the collection of bird specimens has been outlawed for 
all but the few accredited professional ornithologists who's credentials 
enable them to successfully qualify for a permit to collect. This state of 
affairs has effectively limited the practice of Ornithology to 
degree-holding professionals. Because we know an awful lot about birds we 
tend to think (if we consider it at all) this situation tolerable.
    In the interim, the collection of insect specimens has NOT been 
outlawed. The practice of Lepidoptery and other forms of Entomology has not 
been limited to degree-holding professionals. Because we know awful little 
about insects we need to keep the situation this way. We cannot afford to 
support (through government or industry funding) a real Biological Survey 
that would sample in every neck-of-the-woods (rather than just in political 
hot spots). We rely on amateur entomologists to provide the majority of the 
space/time series of samples for our museum collections which are the 
resource upon which professional research depends.
    We need to keep things this way if we are to document our fauna and the 
changes in it brought on by the effects of our industrial modification of 
our climate and habitat.
    We need to combat the privatization of knowledge, brought on by laws of 
patent, copyright and national patrimony in response to the piratical 
tactics of entrepreneurs in the chemical prospecting and genetic 
engineering fields.
    Personally, I would rather have knowledge and freedom than money and 
entertainment. But I am just a retired old-style-museum-taxonomist.
...............Chris Durden, Naturalist.

At 12:19 AM 1/31/2002 -0800, you wrote:

>--- "Chris J. Durden" <drdn at mail.utexas.edu> wrote:
> > At 09:56 PM 1/30/2002 -0500, you wrote:
> >
> > - - -
> > >  If you are serious about the study of butterflies and
> > >moths at any level, then I suspect you are indeed a lepidopterist.
> >  It's not
>It would also leave out some of the
> > life-listers who rush from hot spot to hot spot without lingering
> > for a
> > long look at familiar species.
> > ...................Chris Durden (an Entomologist who is also a
> > Lepidopterist)
>Exactly, like a birder from an ornithologist.
>Now come to think of it, while ornithologists accept a lot of data
>from "birders", most of them require a degree, advanced or otherwise
>to include you in their ranks. So maybe entomologists and
>lepidopterists are more "liberal" ?, less "cold prickly" ? "more warm
>and fuzzy" ? or just desparate (sp?) for help and companionship.
>Bob Parcelles
>Lepidopterest, Odontologist, Ornithologist, Herpetologist,
>Limnologist, Ethologist, Ecologist and Apologist
>Bob Parcelles, Jr
>Pinellas Park, FL
>RJP Associates, C2M-BWPTi
>rjparcelles at yahoo.com
>"Change your thoughts and you change your world."
>- Norman Vincent Peale
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