Once a common practice, attitudes towards lethal methods of insect-recording have changed and it is now seen as unnecesary and a potential pressure on insect populations. Roger Morris takes a closer look at alternative approaches, such as photography, and demonstrates why lethal methods are sometimes necessary to ensure certain insects do not go unrecorded.
The decline of global insect populations has generated a great deal of media coverage. In some quarters, at least, alarm bells are ringing. While more detailed and reliable data are needed to allow these losses to be quantified, there is a growing and very real risk that the system of producing data is being weakened. Opposition to scientific data collection by means of lethal techniques is increasing, despite the fact that these methods are vital for the reliable identification of many insects.