Trading Policy

The following is the Society's policy for providing facilities for trade in biological specimens as first drafted at March 1997 and subsequently amended (July 2007, March 2009 and May 2010).

The Society provides trading facilities through its email newsletter and its Annual Exhibition. It does so to fulfil its overall aim of furthering the study of insects, which can only be pursued effectively through the observation of dead and living specimens, together with the aid of books and equipment.

The Society does not believe that trade in invertebrates is generally detrimental to populations in the wild, but recognises that it might occasionally have harmful consequences; for example where species are already in serious decline for other reasons, or where they are being over-exploited. The Society further believes that it is preferable for traders to obtain their specimens through captive breeding or bona fide ranching systems rather than through capture from the wild, as an assurance that natural populations and habitats are not being harmed.

With regard to animal welfare, the Society believes that living specimens on sale should be protected from injury, overcrowding and other stress and that buyers should be made aware of the requirements for care.

In accordance with the above considerations, the Society's policy regarding trade through its email newsletter and at its Annual Exhibition is as follows:-

  1. The Society will at all times uphold its responsibility for ensuring full legal compliance by anyone wishing to use its facilities (i.e. the Society's exhibitions or advertisements in the Wants and Exchange List or other AES Publications) to sell or offer to sell any species for which trading is controlled or prohibited by law. In particular, the Society will seek to ensure that its facilities are never used for trade in living specimens of non-native species which, under UK law, are scheduled as plant pests1 or as dangerous wild animals2.
  2. The Society will allow the use of its facilities for legally permitted trade in living or dead specimens of protected species provided that, in each instance and in accordance with the Society's terms and conditions, the trader has provided documentary proof that he or she possesses the necessary licence(s), certificate(s) or exemption(s)3.
  3. Trade will be restricted only in respect of species identified in the current version of the AES trading certificate. Traders will, however, be requested to provide their customers with information on the origins of all live and dead specimens offered for sale. The Society suggests that this information should be based on the following categories:
    1. Captive bred, from self-sustaining stock;
    2. Reared from wild-caught immature stages, including gravid females;
    3. Wild-caught (in whatever stage is offered for sale);
    4. Bred from a bona fide ranching scheme;
    5. Specimens from old collections.
    If a trader states that the specimens are derived from categories (d) or (e), he or she must provide the following details, so as to support the statement:
    • for Category (d) - the address of the ranch or ranching agency.
    • for Category (e) - the origin of the collection and (if known) the year in which the specimen was collected.
  4. The Society will require traders at its exhibitions to display and supply all living specimens in suitable containers and to provide relevant care sheets to all their customers.


  1. The Plant Health (England) Order 2005 (No. 2530), lists plant pests which "shall not be landed or spread within England". Similar laws apply in other parts of the UK.
  2. The Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 (as amended) lists certain venomous spiders and scorpions, which cannot legally be possessed except in secure conditions under licence.
  3. In the UK, trade in legally protected invertebrate species is controlled under the following:
    • Wildlife and Countryside Act (1981) [WCA] and its equivalents in Scotland and Northern Ireland;
    • European Union Habitats Directive, as incorporated into UK legislation;
    • Control of Trade in Endangered Species (Enforcement Regulation (1997)) [COTES]. COTES covers internal UK trade in species listed under CITES.