A Conversation for Privet Hawk Moth

Breeding and releasing these - or indeed any other - moths

Post 1


This article states that "it's worth trying to breed them for release into the wild". I think it is worth being careful about this.

The Joint Committee for the Conservation of British Insects's code states "Before attemtping to establisn new populations or to reinforce existings ones, please consult the Joint Committee". Whilst this code is voluntary, rather than stautory, and thefore does not require you to comply it is produced by people who are experts in the field and I would recommend that it is followed.

I beleive the reasons for concerns about attempting to establish or reinforce populations are several.

Firstly the decline in populations usually has some underlying cause and so simply releasing new insects is unlikley to be effective in increasing the population.

Secondly insects raised from bought eggs (as suggested in this Guide Entry) may not be sourced from the area in which you are releasing them and may be a different form. Potentially the moths you release could breed out an interesting local form.

Thirdly insects raised in captivity will not have been exposed to the same bacteria, viruses, parasitoids etc. as those in the wild. Conseuqently their immune systems will not necessarily have kept up with the evolution of these things in the wild. The released insects may well breed with insects in the area and their offspring could therefore be vulnerable to disease and actually lead to a reduction in the population in subsequent years.

Forthly if you release insects into an area the apparent increase in their population could show up in scietific monitoring and confuse results.

Obviously all of these concerns are much more serious if large numbers are released but unless the idea was to release a large enough number to have an effect on the population it would not really be possible to say that "you've done your bit for the environment."

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Breeding and releasing these - or indeed any other - moths

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