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Raising and introducing moths and butterflies

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Old Monday 25th June 2012, 17:21   #1
Adam M
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Raising and introducing moths and butterflies

Hello,

I am just curious about the legalities of taking caterpillars or chrysalis's of common native species (UK), raising them, and then letting them go. Is any part of that illegal to any extent? Or would it only be illegal for certain species (large blue, swallowtail, etc)?

Also, what if I was to buy eggs/caterpillars online of rarer native species (such as fritillaries) and raised them to adults. Would it be illegal to let them go?

My cousins son is interested in raising butterflies, and I just want to make sure he doesn't break any laws or endanger any sites/colonies/species in doing so.

Also, any advice or links to good sites to buy eggs/caterpillars from would be appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

Adam
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Old Saturday 28th July 2012, 00:10   #2
HarassedDad
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Taking raising and releasing common species is perfectly fine. Certain species are protected however, such as Swallowtail, etc. It is also illegal to take or release any animal in a national reserve or SSSI.

Please don't get involved in buying butterflies off the internet. Apart from the damage collecting them causes to the "donor" populations, most are taken in eastern europe and, even if the same species as that in the UK are frequently different sub-species. They may also introduce viruses or parasites into the UK. In my experience such releases rarely last more than a few days in the wild.
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Old Monday 30th July 2012, 22:39   #3
Adam M
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Thanks for the advice.

Yeah, further reading has suggested buying them online is not the best of ideas. Might suggest he goes for the approach of raising just a few each year that he finds on a local brown field site (which has no designation) and let them go in the same place.

Thanks again.

Adam
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Old Saturday 11th August 2012, 09:09   #4
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I would question releasing any species far away from where they were found, even in the case of common species the local insects may be adapted to the area where they have been found. Species such as the Comma and Gatekeeper are spreading slowly northwards but it may well be that the fresh populations are adapting to the new conditions as they move northwards.
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