10. Ex Situ Conservation

  1. T.R. New

Published Online: 20 SEP 2013

DOI: 10.1002/9781118409220.ch10

Lepidoptera and Conservation

Lepidoptera and Conservation

How to Cite

New, T.R. (ed) (2013) Ex Situ Conservation, in Lepidoptera and Conservation, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781118409220.ch10

Editor Information

  1. Department of Zoology, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 20 SEP 2013
  2. Published Print: 10 DEC 2013

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781118409213

Online ISBN: 9781118409220



  • assisted colonisation;
  • captive condition;
  • ex situ conservation;
  • inbreeding;
  • Lepidoptera;
  • pathogens;
  • quality control;
  • translocation


The accumulated and extensive hobbyist experiences with rearing Lepidoptera in captive conditions, and the popularity of exhibits such as ‘butterfly houses’, constitute a unique basis for pursuing ex situ conservation. Causes of captive declines are complex, and range from inadequate nutrition or other resource quality, undetected disease, or overlooking or unawareness of some utility or climatic need, to genetic deterioration. For many re-introduction attempts, simply obtaining donor stock for translocation or release may be a major constraint, and either small numbers from the field or bred from limited parental stocks implying limited genetic variation that could lead to later inbreeding effects. Assisted colonisation or assisted migration has been investigated for butterflies in a number of contexts, and much depends on the suitability of the receptor sites and the ecological specialisations of the species used.