THE DRAGONFLY SOCIETY OF THE AMERICAS
Statement of Committee on collecting Policy
A final draft of the DSA Collecting Guidelines has been completed through
the diligent work of the Committee set up by George Harp, chaired by Richard
Orr, and with the valuable comments of many of our members. This draft is
basically the draft published in ARGIA (1994, vol. 6, no. 3, pp. 6-8), but with
a few significant changes.
Our ethical responsibility to assess and preserve natural resources, for the
maintenance of biological diversity in perpetuity, and for the increase of
knowledge requires that Odonatologists examine the rationale and practices of
collecting Odonata, for the purpose of governing their own activities. While we
recognize that historically most threats to preservation of odonate species
have been a consequence of habitat destruction, we believe that there is a need
for responsible collecting practices. To this end, the following guidelines are
outlined, based on these premises:
0.1 Odonata are a natural resource.
0.2 Any human interaction with a natural resource (e.g. Odonata and their
environment) should be in a manner not harmful to the perpetuation of that
0.3 The collection of Odonata:
- 0.31 is a means of
introducing children and adults to awareness and study of their natural
- 0.32 has an essential role in
gathering of scientific information including the advancement of taxonomic
knowledge, both for its own sake and as a basis from which to develop
rational means for protecting the environment, and maintaining the health
of the biosphere;
- 0.33 is an enjoyable
educational or scientific activity which can generally be pursued in a
manner not detrimental to the resource (e.g. Odonata and their
Purposes of Collecting (consistent with the above):
- 1.1 To create a reference
collection for study and appreciation.
- 1.2 To document regional
diversity, frequency and variability of species, and as voucher material
for published records.
- 1.3 To document faunal
representation in environments undergoing or threatened with alteration by
human or natural forces.
- 1.4 To participate in development
of regional checklists and institutional reference collections.
- 1.5 To complement a planned
- 1.6 To aid in dissemination
of educational information.
- 1.7 To provide material for
- 1.8 To provide information
for ecological studies.
Restraints As To Numbers:
- 2.1 Collection (of adults or
of immature stages) should be limited to sampling, not depleting, the
population concerned; numbers collected should be consistent with, and not
excessive for, the purpose of the collecting.
- 2.2 When collecting where the
extent and/or fragility of the population is unknown, caution and
restraint should be exercised.
- 3.1 Field collecting should
be selective and should minimize harm to non-target organisms.
- 4.1 Rearing to elucidate life
histories and to obtain series of immature stages and adults is
encouraged, provided that collection of the rearing stock is in keeping
with the guidelines.
- 4.2 Reared material in excess
of need should be released, but only in the region where it originated,
and in suitable habitat.
- 4.3 Because of such concerns
as introduction of disease and adverse redistribution of genetic
resources, release of excess reared material is not encouraged unless it
is done in conjunction with a planned restoration program, and under
supervision of knowledgeable biologists.
Environmental and Legal Considerations:
- 5.1 Protecting the supporting
habitat must be recognized as essential to the protection of a species.
- 5.2 Collecting should be
performed in a manner such as to minimize trampling or other damage to the
- 5.3 Property rights and
sensibilities of others must be respected (including those of nature
photographers and observers).
- 5.4 All collecting must be in
compliance with regulations relating to public lands (such as state and
national parks, monuments, recreational areas, etc.) and to individual
species and habitats.
- 5.5 Importation and movement
of exotic species must be in compliance with international, national, or
regional laws prior to importing live or dead material.
Responsibility For Collected Material:
- 6.1 All material should be
preserved with full data attached, including parentage of immatures when
- 6.2 All material should be protected
from physical damage and deterioration, as by light, molds, and museum
- 6.3 Collections should be
made available for examination by qualified researchers.
- 6.4 Collections or specimens,
and their associated written, electronic, photographic and other records,
should be willed or offered to the care of an appropriate scientific
institution, if the collector lacks space or loses interest, or
- 6.5 Type specimens,
especially holotypes or allotypes, should be deposited in appropriate
Related Activities Of Collectors:
- 7.1 Collecting should include
permanently recorded field notes regarding habitat, conditions, and other
- 7.2 Recording of observations
of behavior and of biological interactions should be encouraged and
receive as high a priority as collecting.
- 7.3 Photographic records,
with full data, are also encouraged.
- 7.4 Education of the public
about collecting and conservation, as reciprocally beneficial activities,
should be undertaken whenever possible.
Traffic In Odonata Specimens:
- 8.1 Collections of specimens
for exchange should be performed in accordance with these guidelines.
- 8.2 Rearing of specimens for
exchange should be from stock obtained in a manner consistent with these
guidelines, and so documented.
- 8.3 The sale of individual
specimens or the mass collection of Odonata for commercial purposes (e.g.
fish bait), and collection or use of specimens for creation of salable
artifacts, are not included among the purposes of the Dragonfly Society of
(Last update 13-April-96) (current as of 26-Feb-2020)