Agrias butterflies

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livingplanet3
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Re: Agrias butterflies

Post by livingplanet3 »

Trehopr1 wrote: Thu Nov 17, 2022 11:01 pm In all my years of purchasing/trading for specimens I have never yet seen a narcissus available in any old collections I have reviewed !
Indeed, narcissus doesn't appear to be available nearly as often as various other Agrias (at least, not in the US). I was finally able to obtain a specimen (a male) just last August. The blue in this species is especially intense! -

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Re: Agrias butterflies

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Wow, that is one intense photograph !!

Agreed, here in the US this species seems to have been a real scarcity amongst dealers. I'm willing to bet that virtually any collected over these last fourty years or so probably went directly to Europe or Japan -- with barely any ever making it here.

I have probably looked over some 20 different collections over the last 25 years -- and never seen a one. I encountered some of the other species but, more often than not they were either not worth the asking price (for their quality) or an arm and a leg was requested to purchase them if they were worthy specimens !
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Re: Agrias butterflies

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Trehopr1 wrote: Thu Nov 17, 2022 11:53 pm Wow, that is one intense photograph !!

Agreed, here in the US this species seems to have been a real scarcity amongst dealers. I'm willing to bet that virtually any collected over these last fourty years or so probably went directly to Europe or Japan -- with barely any ever making it here.

I have probably looked over some 20 different collections over the last 25 years -- and never seen a one. I encountered some of the other species but, more often than not they were either not worth the asking price (for their quality) or an arm and a leg was requested to purchase them if they were worthy specimens !
Not to get too off-topic, but another moderately rare and quite beautiful Neotropical charaxine butterfly that I acquired at the same time as the A. narcissus, is Anaeomorpha splendida, which is another species that I was rather surprised to see available -

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Re: Agrias butterflies

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Those have always been pretty scarce here in the US. I've only encountered two in collections over this last 25 years.

I actually purchased one of the two and owned it for a bit but, I just couldn't get past the repairs it had and ended up "flipping it" for something else in top notch shape.

I don't believe the color in the pictured specimen to be true as the species is more of a turquoise color. Yet, it does have a unique wingshape and the females are as rare as hens teeth.
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Re: Agrias butterflies

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Trehopr1 wrote: Thu Nov 17, 2022 11:53 pm Agreed, here in the US this species seems to have been a real scarcity amongst dealers. I'm willing to bet that virtually any collected over these last fourty years or so probably went directly to Europe or Japan -- with barely any ever making it here.
Agrias narcissus is a common species but harder to find now that Brazil is closed to science. (Manaus and Obidos were good spot) and their prices have raised as you can see on Collector's Secret : Agrias butterflies

It is also rather easy to trap them in French Guiana so you can find them from French insect dealers/collectors at better prices.
An example with a splendid fresh female Agrias narcissus in our bait trap in French Guiana last year :
Image

This was in Patawa entomological lodge, Kaw Mountain, and the bait was rotten banana.
For some reasons, surely due to the soil composition, you won't attract Agrias with urine or rotten shrimps/fishes in French Guiana, while it works very well in Colombia/Peru... in FG, rotten banana is the best bait for Preponini, Anaea, Morpho...
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Re: Agrias butterflies

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And if someone needs narcissus and other Agrias at low price, don't miss my French Auctions Interencheres next wednesday 23rd November : https://www.interencheres.com/meubles-o ... 49609.html
It should cost between 10 and 20€ per specimen.

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Re: Agrias butterflies

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wollastoni wrote: Fri Nov 18, 2022 10:51 am And if someone needs narcissus and other Agrias at low price, don't miss my French Auctions Interencheres next wednesday 23rd November : https://www.interencheres.com/meubles-o ... 49609.html
It should cost between 10 and 20€ per specimen.

Image
Well there you go. An Agrias collection; always less expensive to buy lots. Keep what you want, flip the rest.
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Re: Agrias butterflies

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Trehopr1 wrote: Fri Nov 18, 2022 2:59 am Those have always been pretty scarce here in the US. I've only encountered two in collections over this last 25 years.

...the females are as rare as hens teeth.
Rarities simply don't make it to USA. Doesn't matter what the collectible is, it's the same story.

First, you have more bureaucratic costs and paperwork to jump through. Those costs, risks, and delays are passed on the the consumer.

Second, the market simply isn't there. This has been studied in depth, and it comes down to two factors: (1) other things to do and (2) McDonalds mentality. In other words, Americans have more opportunity to (for example) go field collecting, and are cheap and/or non-selective. One only has to go into an aquarium store in USA, then same in Germany or Japan to figure that out. Or an art museum. And some areas- for example New England, are even more "McDonalds"- unable to discriminate between top quality and junk/ common.

So in USA, the selection just isn't there because importers/ retailers know more money is to be made from selling common stuff. So the top stuff goes to Japan (and more recently, China).

USA is rather unique though in what I call the "Hollywood" types. They collect stuff, and really don't even know what it is. They have virtually unlimited funds, and pay people to buy top stuff. They can't tell themselves whether it's a top item, but owning it is important. So in USA, buyers compete against them (and savvy sellers make a killing.)

That said, in USA there are top collectors for any given niche. Not all are rich- but what they are is well studied in the topic, and willing to drop cash for top material, and forgo the junk. But these are a fraction of the entire market in any niche.

ETA: The top collectible rarely make it to public view. Those who deal with high end collectives make a call and it's sold; if first buyer doesn't want it, seller goes down the list. Buyers are sometimes faced with paying high prices when offered lest they be dropped from the list. If you want really rare stuff, you need to know who's dealing in that niche, and be prepared to pay without hassles or delays.
Last edited by Chuck on Fri Nov 18, 2022 4:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Agrias butterflies

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Trehopr1 wrote: Fri Nov 18, 2022 2:59 am I don't believe the color in the pictured specimen to be true as the species is more of a turquoise color. Yet, it does have a unique wingshape and the females are as rare as hens teeth.
They also don't have bright red antennae!
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Re: Agrias butterflies

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Right on Chuck ! 😎

I couldn't agree more with your sentiments...
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Re: Agrias butterflies

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Indeed Bob, that was a glaring certainty.👀
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Re: Agrias butterflies

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Well, indeed the temptation to pick up a box like that is there however, even if each specimen conservatively sold for 20 euros a piece you are looking at a minimum of 560 euros (which is roughly the equivalent of $600 today).

Then there's the commission price which the auction house gets on top of that.

Then you have to look at what is truly worthwhile there and determine if what you would keep is worthy of the cost.

I wouldn't have a problem flipping the lesser specimens but, I don't think a drawer like this could be had for 20 euros a specimen on average. Just my humble opinion here because Agrias/Prepona are still just that; and always ever popular !

I suppose this is why I have always consulted my contact for collections being parted out. I just review what I have before me and cherry-pick only that which I desire most.
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Re: Agrias butterflies

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I think rotten banana serves as a food source and urine rotten shrimp/fish is of course source of minerals which males need to reproduce. But for some reason the effectiveness of the last are very a lot by the region it could be as you mention also the soil components as minerals are available else where so the bait doesn’t work well.
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Re: Agrias butterflies

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Trehopr1 wrote: Fri Nov 18, 2022 2:59 am I don't believe the color in the pictured specimen to be true as the species is more of a turquoise color...
Agreed - the color appears to have been saturated toward the blue end in that photo, although when viewed at just the right angle, a deep blue aspect can be seen in this species, especially in the forewings, as is visible in this image -

Image

However, the photo posted here (viewtopic.php?p=2478#p2478) by daveuk last Aug gives a more typical view of the species' color, which is blue-green in an overhead shot -

Image
bobw wrote: Fri Nov 18, 2022 2:29 pm They also don't have bright red antennae!
I hadn't even noticed how red the antennae were in that photo until you pointed it out. I have a form of color blindness, and red, green and brown all look very similar to me, unless I put them next to a large, solid block of color for comparison.
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Re: Agrias butterflies

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Paul K wrote: Fri Nov 18, 2022 5:17 pm I think rotten banana serves as a food source and urine rotten shrimp/fish is of course source of minerals which males need to reproduce. But for some reason the effectiveness of the last are very a lot by the region it could be as you mention also the soil components as minerals are available else where so the bait doesn’t work well.
From my memory, there were between 25- 35 of us in Ecuador for two weeks. There were about five traps. I know fish bait was brought, I assume fruit was tried. I believe the Agrias captures were in the single digits. I also recall something about the traps being robbed, don't remember if it was ants or a non-human mammal. I caught zero, nor did I even get within net range; I saw at most a half dozen up high. So at least from my limited experience, they seem to be rather low frequency and hard to catch even with bait.
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Re: Agrias butterflies

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A drawer in my collection containing some Agrias narcissus I got from a British dealer in the mid 1980s. I was able to get a nice series relatively cheaply compared to prices today. Old photo.
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Re: Agrias butterflies

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daveuk wrote: Sat Nov 19, 2022 12:48 pm A drawer in my collection containing some Agrias narcissus I got from a British dealer in the mid 1980s. I was able to get a nice series relatively cheaply compared to prices today. Old photo.
Very nice! Did you have any difficulty spreading these? I've heard that Agrias / Prepona can be somewhat problematic to relax / spread? I have seen many perfectly spread examples of these butterflies however, so clearly, there is an effective method of doing so.
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Re: Agrias butterflies

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I too would like to hear what different members have tried as far as spreading these themselves is concerned. Someone, on the old forum remarked that sometimes the chemical(s) used in the dispatch of these can have adverse effects on trying to spread them later once they have dried out.

Some specimens wind up with the crooked-wings (bent costal veins) affect (which is really tough to remedy) if not impossible; or as some of us have seen you wind up with specimens that have pin holes in the wings. This is because the preparator either could not maneuver them into position properly or even under strips the wings wanted to slide back !

My only specimens come from collections being parted out and I only chose the premium examples that I could find and afford.

They are beautifully prepared so, no less some people are able to work with these (with a certain measure of success) but, I have never purchased any of mine papered because I don't like taking chances with pricey items that could be difficult to work with.
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Re: Agrias butterflies

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livingplanet3 wrote: Sat Nov 19, 2022 7:30 pm
daveuk wrote: Sat Nov 19, 2022 12:48 pm A drawer in my collection containing some Agrias narcissus I got from a British dealer in the mid 1980s. I was able to get a nice series relatively cheaply compared to prices today. Old photo.
Very nice! Did you have any difficulty spreading these? I've heard that Agrias / Prepona can be somewhat problematic to relax / spread? I have seen many perfectly spread examples of these butterflies however, so clearly, there is an effective method of doing so.
Thanks.
These narcissus specimens were set/spread when I got them. I have spread both Agrias & Prepona since. Here are some from Costa Rica I acquired as papered specimens a few years back. Orange & Red forms of Agrias amydon philatelica. I actually set these verso up & then re=pinned to display them recto. A bit unauthodox but find it works for me. Especially with these large big bodied nymphalids
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Re: Agrias butterflies

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daveuk wrote: Sat Nov 19, 2022 11:04 pm Thanks.
These narcissus specimens were set/spread when I got them. I have spread both Agrias & Prepona since. Here are some from Costa Rica I acquired as papered specimens a few years back. Orange & Red forms of Agrias amydon philatelica. I actually set these verso up & then re=pinned to display them recto. A bit unauthodox but find it works for me. Especially with these large big bodied nymphalids
Beautiful specimens! Most of my Agrias / Prepona specimens are still papered, and before long, I'm going to need to get to work on relaxing / spreading them. It's been many years since I've set any butterfly specimens (and was probably using less than optimal methods back then), so I'm still currently in the process of gathering information from other collectors about how best to do it. I now have nearly all of the equipment needed for the process, including the spreading boards, so it's really all now down to just determining what relaxation method will consistently work well for a wide range of species and sizes. I note that many hobbyists mention placing the relaxation container in a refrigerator, rather than leaving it at room temperature. But, some collectors say that they have had equally good results without refrigeration. The techniques for relaxation and spreading seem to vary considerably. I've read many online guides on the topic, and have also seen various videos demonstrating the process. As expected, information is often conflicting, and some of these guides / videos seem quite professional, while in other cases, the procedure is obviously being performed by a rough novice.
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