It's rather difficult to estimate just how many people have a serious interest in the various areas of Entomology.  Lepidoptera seems to have the largest following, with Arachnids a close second (though probably for very different reasons).  Okay so correct me if I'm wrong, but the study of butterflies & moths seems synonymous with the intellectuals - the village vicar, the schoolmaster, the retired doctor, the gentleman, maybe slightly eccentric, but more than the usual amount of marbles there somewhere!  On the other hand - the followers of the Tarantula are usually tatooed, ride a Harley-Davidson, have long hair - you know - the guy who just LOVES to take the girls back to his flat and SCARE THE HELL OUT OF THEM! - Of course, many of us don't fit into either of those categories!

Okay, so how many people have a keen interest in Entomology?  Well, the English organisation "Butterfly Conservation" boasts a membership of over 10,000, but that was only after a high-profile advertising campaign.  The Amateur Entomologist's Society (A.E.S.) in the U.K. has around 2,000 members. I would say that there's probably between 2,500 and 5,000 keen Entomologists in Britain, with another 5,000 or so spread across Europe, maybe another 15,000 worldwide making a total of 25,000 altogether, but I would be happy to see these figures challanged.  At that, I guess we have about  2% of the serious world entomologists in our organisation. Not bad, but my aim is to increase membership to nearer 5% by the new Millennium (c. 1,000 members).

Over the next few pages, I will be introducing you to some of our more active members.  Some are working entomologists, who run the butterfly houses we all love to visit - some are just very keen amateurs.  I make no apologies for advertising what our members do and sell - indeed, that is what our group is all about.  The people who join our group, want to find new contacts, obtain new species, and sell-off or exchange their surplus stocks.  All individual transactions are carried out BETWEEN members, not via the ELG. We just allow you to state what you have or what you want in the newsletters.

We expect all members to ensure that their advertising and activities do not contravene the various Wildlife Laws.  I am not a lawyer and cannot check everything that is submitted to me (although I do spot the obvious problems).

We also expect members to observe general standards of fair-trading and dispose of stocks on a first-come first-served basis.  The ELG will not enter into individual disputes between members, but if it appears there is a continuous problem (ie: a number of similar complaints) then we will contact the member involved to try to rectify the situation.

Our final control, is of course, to expel a member, but this happens only very infrequently (to my memory, in 9 years as Editor, there have only been about 3 people who have been expelled).

A number of species of British Butterflies are now protected by the Wildlife & Countryside Act 1981 (and subsequent amendments), although unfortunately, their habitats are not given such protection. One such butterfly is the High Brown Fritillary [below].  It is now illegal to take this species from the wild in the U.K., without a licence.  Fortunately, a number of our members maintain large breeding stocks of this and other protected species and you can quite legally buy livestock for just a few pounds.  All the British species (with just a few exceptions) are available as livestock in our lists throughout the year and often much cheaper than the usual dealers' prices.  In many cases you will be buying direct from the individual breeders, who are more than willing to supply you with the necessary breeding tips and information to help with difficult species and problems such as over-wintering of larvae, adults etc.

For up-to-date information about protected butterfly & moth species in the U.K. - check out English Nature's main web site at:
or you can E-Mail English Nature here:

[Above] Emperor Moth
larvae (Britain)
(Saturnia pavonia)
Picture: Paul Chesterfield

[Above] - Our first "Butterfly House"  [PwB]

A 30ft Polytunnel erected and planted out by
BoB Bellis and Paul Batty
and really, we didn't have a clue! I seem to recall that to get the polytunnel frame from a local farmer, we changed the clutch in his old International tractor !
Did we get any better???
Check out the second
attempt HERE
(look closely and you may still see the old Polytunnel).

[Above] Termites in Ecuador. Photos - Paul Stevens - E-Mail:

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