About Collecting Butterflies and Moths
Ken would sometimes be asked about whether the creation of his large collection of moths and butterflies, which contained over 100,000 specimens, was detrimental to nature or the health of any of the species he collected. Ken’s response to these sorts of questions was as follows:
To help put this impact in perspective it is useful to consider how many moths and butterflies are killed by a cars. This information can be found in the following two publications:
- McKenna, D.D., McKenna, K.M., Malcom, S.B. and Bebenbaum, M.R., 2001. Mortality of Lepidoptera along roadways in central Illinois. Journal of the Lepidopterists Society, 55(2): 63-68
- Baxter-Gilbert, J.H., Riley, J.L., Neufeld, C.J., Litzgus, J.D. and Lesbarrères, D., 2015. Road mortality potentially responsible for billions of pollinating insect deaths annually. Journal of Insect Conservation, 19(5): 1029-1035. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10841-015-9808-z
There are many good reasons to continue to collect insect specimens and preserve them for scientific study for perpetuity. There are many well written articles on this topic, so we direct curious readers to the following two excellent examples:
- Warren, A. D. 2015. Why we still collect butterflies. The Conversation.
- Pohl, G.R., 2008. Why we kill bugs–the case for collecting insects. Ontario Lepidoptera, 7.