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1 February 2009 A Protocol for Evaluating Cost-Effectiveness of Butterflies in Live Exhibits
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Abstract

Butterfly species used for live exhibition differ in life span, encounter rate, behavior, and cost. By knowing which species are more cost-effective, exhibitors can customize their butterfly imports and purchase butterfly species that provide the best return on their investment. We used mark-recapture techniques to estimate mean life span and encounter rates for 39 butterfly species commonly purchased by exhibitors. In addition, the behavior of 29 species was quantified and characterized as suitable versus unsuitable by direct observation. The data were combined to calculate 1) the total number of days of suitable performance to be expected from a species, and 2) the cost per individual per day based on the number of expected suitable days. The most cost-effective butterfly relative to others in this study was Heliconius hecale F. (total suitable days, 33.4; cost per day, $0.05); the least cost-effective species was Doleschallia bisaltide Cramer (total suitable days, 0.1; cost per day, $13.15). By using this protocol, exhibitors can selectively incorporate more cost-effective species, save money on imports, and improve the visual appeal of their live exhibits.

© 2009 Entomological Society of America
Adrienne L. E. Brewster and Card W. Otis "A Protocol for Evaluating Cost-Effectiveness of Butterflies in Live Exhibits," Journal of Economic Entomology 102(1), 105-114, (1 February 2009). https://doi.org/10.1603/029.102.0115
Received: 9 August 2007; Accepted: 1 August 2008; Published: 1 February 2009
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