I have a strange question regarding moving butterflies from one country to another (kind of a lame explanation, but please bear with me).

I am collecting butterflies (basically doing something like this) a mounted preserved butterfly collection

and in order to expand my collection I am looking to travel to other countries. Thus the main reason for travelling to the country is to catch a species that I do not have (kill and stretch them in a nice position) and bring them back to the USA (where I currently live).

The problem is that a lot of countries I was looking into do not permit butterflies to be taken outside of the country (I say that this is strange, because inside of the country they are killed as vermin, and basically no one cares; nonetheless some butterflies are protected by the red list).

I am looking for help from the fellow travelers who can tell me some of the countries where I can collect and take away butterflies. If I am not asking for too much, I would be super happy if someone can suggest places from their countries where I can collect them.


  • I am not planning to get huge amount of them (1-2 elements from each of the species, and I would be lucky to collect 30 butterflies in a trip)
  • I am not interested in buying them (the butterflies I have seen for sale look nice for ordinary people, but are bad quality for collectors)
  • I am willing to pay a reasonable amount to be able to transfer them
  • 3
    The USA prohibits importing whole butterfly specimens unless you have USDA permits. You can bring wings back, but not bodies as there maybe pests inside the dead bodies (and the last thing you want is for the USDA to destroy your hard earned specimens by fumigating them). Fortunately USDA permits are not too hard to get (leastways for the plant world, I haven't applied for insect permits).
    – user13044
    Commented Oct 11, 2014 at 2:35
  • 2
    Butterflies come under CITES control and as you noted many are on the Red List (critically endangered species). CITES only covers international trade and movement, what a country does within its borders is up to the country. My experience with USDA APHIS, CITES, etc has been for plants and the process for insects will likely be different. I would contact Fish & Wildlife (federal office, not local) and the USDA office nearest you. Most have a CITES officer who can answer your questions. And note that CITES controlled species require an export permit from the country of origin as well.
    – user13044
    Commented Oct 11, 2014 at 4:52
  • 2
    Both of these sites have good information for you: theskepticalmoth.com/collecting-permits & insectnet.com/us_fishandwildlife.htm
    – CGCampbell
    Commented Oct 12, 2014 at 1:15
  • 2
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because OP wants to kill and collect species on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species - this is fundamentally anti-social, and helping him/her to do so does not make the Internet (or the world) a better place - quite the opposite. See: "be nice" policy: meta.stackexchange.com/help/be-nice
    – A E
    Commented Aug 13, 2016 at 9:58
  • 4
    @AE While I fully agree that killing endangered species is bad, I disagree with your close-vote and have voted to leave open for several reasons: 1) "Be nice" applies to human interaction, not endangered species, please read the policy you link to 2) It is not at all obvious to me that the OP is looking for endangered species, he could also look to those who are not. 3) Closure is not the right approach. Even when we got a Q asking for prostitution in Russia, we did not close but answered that it was illegal and dangerous and to stay away. Cf: "When in doubt err on the side of helping people."
    – mts
    Commented Aug 13, 2016 at 10:23

2 Answers 2


Some years back I went to a butterfly farm in Suriname. Their core business was exporting butterfly dolls to European and American Butterfly gardens. At the time it seemed like a very interesting business model. Due to the climate American and European butterfly gardens depend on a steady stream of new Dolls. I was told that the through put was a shipment per three weeks per butterfly garden. This specific farm had quite some species available.

It might be a solution to find these providers in various country. I was told that there are also some in Central America. These farms would not only be a good source for butterfly's they might also assist you in import regulations, since they have to deal with them on a daily base.

If Suriname is not in reach, you could try to contact your local butterfly farm and inquire about their providers.

  • 1
    Thank you, I have not thought about asking for providers from local butterfly farms. I visited few of them, hoping to buy butterflies directly from them and to my surprise everyone was firmly telling me 'no' and pointing to the gift shop with already prepared butterflies. Commented Oct 31, 2014 at 6:13
  • Late comment: they might refuse because it would violate their import license which may state "no resale."
    – mkennedy
    Commented Aug 12, 2015 at 22:22
  • 1
    What are "butterfly dolls"? Googling I only found girls' toys and nothing that looked like something I would expect American and European butterfly gardens to depend on ... Commented Aug 13, 2016 at 14:11

All i can say is INDIA: FORGET IT. http://www.theskepticalmoth.com/collecting-permits/ .I'm from India, btw. And trust me, you dont want to go through the maze of Indian biodiversity rules, restrictions, conditions and regulations on intercontinental transport.

  • Wow, this is great. Sad, but great. Thank you Commented Jul 2, 2016 at 5:20
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    Thanks for your great answer. It would be good if you could briefly describe / summarize the contents of the linked page in case it goes down, e.g. saying it's a summary on related rules and citing a few countries possible. But you have my +1 already, welcome to Travel SE :)
    – mts
    Commented Jul 2, 2016 at 7:01
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    Excellent. Good for India.
    – A E
    Commented Aug 14, 2016 at 14:27
  • 1
    @pnuts OP said in the comments, "I thought that people from different countries might give more accurate information whether in their country such activity is possible. I am not only looking for countries where it is possible: if someone will tell me that in country A this is completely illegal or highly discourageable - this is very helpful information as well." Maybe they should edit that into their question to make it easier to see, but being able to mark India off their travel list is apparently helpful :)
    – Keiki
    Commented Aug 14, 2016 at 15:13

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