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TEA Insect Collecting code

"Code for Insect Collecting" for the T.E.A., summarized and paraphrased from the "Code for Insect Collecting" issued by the Joint Committee for the Conservation of British Insects in 1971 and also from the statement of the Committee on Collecting policy of the Lepidopterists' Society in the USA. Any local laws should be obeyed (see Laws about insects).

Benefits of collecting Lepidoptera and other insects:

1. It is a means of introducing people, particularly children to an awareness and study of an important part of their natural environment.
2. It has an essential role in the elucidation of scientific information, both for its own sake and as a basis from which to develop rational means for protecting the environment and its resources.
3. It is a recreational activity which can be pursued in a manner not detrimental to the environment.

Purpose of collecting:

1. To create a reference collection for study, appreciation and education.
2. To document regional diversity, frequency and variability of species and as voucher material for published records. This includes the important matter of monitoring the fluctuation of populations.
3. To document faunal representation in environments threatened with alteration by man or natural forces.
4. To participate in the development of regional checklists and institutional reference collections. The Canadian National Collection and collections in museums and universities have depended to a large extent on the efforts of amateur collectors.
5. To complement a planned research endeavor.

Ethics of collecting:

1. A collection of adults should be limited to sampling the population concerned.
2. Insects should be examined while alive, and if not required, released where they were captured.
3. The same species should not be taken in numbers year after year from the same locality.
4. Specimens for exchange should be taken sparingly.
5. Insects should not be collected for commercial purposes; for such purposes, they should be reared or obtained from old collections.
6. Species which are listed as threatened, vulnerable or rare should be collected with the greatest restraint. It is suggested that one pair is sufficient. Likewise, one pair of distinct local forms should also be regarded as sufficient.
7. When collecting where the extent or fragility of the population is unknown, great caution and restraint should be exercised.
8. Previously unknown localities for rare species should be reported, e.g. to the editors of the TEA Seasonal Summary, but the exact locality should not be published, only the township or nearest town or village.
9. Light traps: live traps are preferable and should be visited regularly and the catch should not be killed wholesale for subsequent examination.
10. Always respect restrictions on collecting in national and provincial parks, nature reserves and conservation areas. Cause as little damage to the environment as possible.
11. Rearing from a captive fertilized female, or from pairing in captivity is preferable to taking a series in the field, if for personal collection.
12. Never collect more larvae than can be supported by the available food supply.
13. Insects reared in excess of need should be released in the original locality.
14. Malaise traps probably should not be used by amateurs. In any case, they should be limited to planned studies.

Responsibilities for collected material:

1. All specimens should be preserved with full data attached.
2. All material should be protected from physical damage and deterioration.
3. Collections should be available for examination by qualified researchers.
4. Collections, with their full data, should be willed or offered to an appropriate scientific institution, e.g. a museum or university, in case of lack of space, loss of interest, or death.
5. Type specimens, especially holotypes or allotypes, should be deposited in appropriate institutions.

Related activities:

1. Collecting should include field notes regarding habitat, weather conditions and other pertinent information.
2. Recording of observations of behaviour and biological interactions should receive as high a priority as collecting; such observations are particularly welcomed for inclusion in TEA Seasonal Summaries or Newsletters.
3. Photographic records are to be encouraged, but it is emphasized that full data for each photograph should be recorded.
4. Education of the public regarding collecting and conservation as reciprocally beneficial activities should be undertaken whenever possible.