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The Committee of the Hong Kong Lepidopterists?Society considers that with the ever increasing loss of habitats resulting from industrial, urban and residential developments and recreational activities, the point has been reached where a code for collecting should be considered in the interests of conservation of the Hong Kong Lepidoptera fauna, particularly macrolepidoptera and species suspected of being endemic to Hong Kong. The Committee considers that in many areas this loss has gone so far that collecting, which at one time would have had a minor effect, could now affect the in-situ survival of one or more species if collected without restraint, or even at all in some cases.

The Committee also believes that by subscribing to a code of collecting, its members will show themselves to be a concerned and responsible body of naturalists who have a positive contribution to make to the cause of conservation. All Society members are required to accept the following Code in principle and to observe it in practice. Failure to do so will result in expulsion from the Society.

Note: the HKLS Code of Lepidoptera Collecting is an adapted version of the Joint Committee for the Conservation of British Insects' "Code for Insect Collecting"

1. Collection - General

1.1 No more specimens than are strictly required for any purpose should be killed. 1.2 Readily identified insects should not be killed if the object is to 'look them over' for aberrations or other purposes: insects should be examined when alive and then released where they were captured.
1.3 The same species should not be taken in numbers year after year from the same locality.
1.4 Supposed or actual predators and parasites of Lepidoptera should not be destroyed.
1.5 When collecting leaf-mines, galls and seed heads never collect all that can be found; leave as many as possible to allow the population to recover.
1.6 Consideration should be given to photography as an alternative to collecting, particularly in the case of butterflies.
1.7 Specimens for exchange, or disposal to other collectors should be taken sparingly or not at all.
1.8 For commercial purposes insects should either be bred or obtained from old collections. Lepidoptera specimens should not be used for the manufacture of 'jewellery'.
2. Collecting - Rare and Endangered Species
2.1 Specimens of macrolepidoptera listed by this Committee (and published in the entomological journals) should be collected with the greatest restraint. As a guide, the Committee suggests that a pair of specimens is sufficient, but that those specimens in the greatest danger should not be collected at all. The list may be amended from time to time if this proves to be necessary.
2.2 Specimens of distinct local forms of macrolepidoptera, particularly butterflies, should likewise be collected with restraint.
2.3 Collectors should attempt to break new ground rather than collect a local or rare species from a well-known and perhaps overworked locality.
2.4 Previously unknown localities for rare species should be brought to the attention of this Committee, which undertakes to inform other organisations as appropriate and only in the interests of conservation.
3. Collecting - Lights and Light traps
3.1 The 'catch' at light, particularly in a trap, should not be killed casually for subsequent examination.
3.2 Live trapping, for instance in traps filled with egg-tray material, is the preferred method of collecting. Anaesthetics are harmful and should not be used.
3.3 Ideally, the catch should be examined and released before dawn. If this is not possible, the insects should be kept in cool, shady conditions and released away from the trap site at dusk. If this is not possible the insects should be released in long grass or other cover and not on lawns or bare surfaces.
3.4 Unwanted insects should not be fed to fish or insectivorous birds and mammals.
3.5 If a trap used for scientific purposes is found to be catching rare or localised species unnecessarily it should be re-sited.
3.6 Traps and lights should be sites with care so as not to annoy neighbours or cause confusion (e.g. near a road where it may distract a road-users vision)
4. Collecting - Permission and Conditions
4.1 Always seek permission from the landowner or occupier when collecting on private land and obtain the appropriate permits when collecting on nature reserves or government land.
4.2 Always comply with any conditions laid down by the granting of permission to collect.
4.3 When collecting on nature reserves, or sites of known interest to conservationists, supply a list of species collected to the appropriate authority.
4.4 When collecting on nature reserves it is particularly important to observe the code suggested in Section 5.
5. Collecting - Damage to the Environment
5.1 Do as little damage to the environment as possible. Remember the needs of other flora and fauna.
5.2 When 'beating' for larvae never thrash trees and bushes so that foliage and twigs are removed. A sharp jarring of branches is both less damaging and more effective.
5.3 When working dead timber one should replace removed bark and worked materials to the best of one ability. Not all the dead wood in a locality should be worked.
5.4 Overturned stones and logs should be replaced in their original positions.
5.5 Water weed and moss which has been worked for larvae should be replaced in its appropriate habitat. Plant material in litter heaps should be replaced and not scattered about.
5.6 Twigs, small branches and foliage required as foodplants or because they are galled, e.g. by Sesiidae, should be removed neatly with secateurs or scissors and not broken off.
5.7 'Sugar' should not be applied so that it renders tree-trunks and other vegetation unnecessarily unsightly.
5.8 Exercise particular care when working for rare species, e.g. by searching for larvae rather than beating for them.
5.9 Remember the Country code!
6. Breeding
6.1 Breeding from a fertilised female or pairing in captivity is preferable to taking a series of specimens in the field.
6.2 Never collect more larvae or other livestock than can be supported by the available supply of foodplant.
6.3 Unwanted insects that have been reared should be released in the original locality, not just anywhere.
6.4 Before undertaking introductions, re-introductions or re-establishments of Lepidoptera populations please consult this Committee.

©2004 Hong Kong Lepidopterists' Society Limited