Work with Living Insects

The student of insects who does nothing but collect, kill, and mount these animals and study the dead specimens will miss the most interesting part of insect study. Anyone who takes time to study living insects will find that they are fascinating and often amazing little animals. They can be studied in the field or in captivity. Many are very easy to keep in captivity, where they can be studied more easily and at closer range than in the field.

Some collectors try to catch an insect as soon as they see it. We suggest that you occasionally stop and watch an insect awhile before you try to collect it. In the case of fast-flying insects such as dragonflies, you will probably not be able to catch one the instant you see it and may be compelled to watch. This may try your patience, but in observing it you may learn things about its habits that you would not learn if you caught it immediately.

If insects are kept in captivity a short period and released (or put into the collection), they require only simple containers and relatively little care. If collected in immature stages and kept until the adults appear, they require more care and sometimes special containers. If cultures are maintained throughout one or more generations, special containers and even more attention are necessary.

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