More recently from UNAM (Atilano Contreras)  - do not send specimens by FedEx, DHL, UPS, just regular (USPS in USA) air mail or air mail registered.  There are more details that I do not have time to go into now (I'm 7 hours ahead in Israel and about to go on a field trip, but I have a fair amount of experience working in Mexico during the past 20+ years.  If interested, I can go into it more later or at the next ECN.


Most larger Mexican institutions are registered to issue import/export permits for specimens.  Hand carry usually is not a problem, but there are things & tricks to be aware of.



From: Entomological Collections Network Listserve [[log in to unmask]] on behalf of Brett Ratcliffe [[log in to unmask]]
Sent: Friday, February 21, 2014 5:52 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Shipping specimens to/from Mexico

Zack et al:

From Miguel Moron at the Instituto de Ecologia in Xalapa, Veracruz about 10 years ago. In my experience, nothing has changed in the interim.
Parcels seem to be regularly pilfered going into Mexico, because of the mistaken assumption they contain good stuff from up north. When it turns out to be just bugs, the package is thrown away.
Dear Brett:
As I explained to you some time ago, since 5-6 years ago, we have problems
or limitations to send or receive samples by courier service, mail service
or hand-carry. Irregularly, some parcels were inspected at federal custom
offices (airports, mail offices, border customs), depending of the official
in charge, some parcel were accepted for entrance, other were returned to
sender or some times they ask for Fauna Silvestre SEMARNAP or Pest
Quarantine (SAGAR) permissions.
Other times, some parcels cross mail offices and customs without revision or
questions and arrive directly to our desks without problems or damage.
Three years ago, I ask to SAGAR and SEMARNAP for some solution to these
problems, and both agreed with instructions to custom and mail offices that
recommend free entrance to small parcels with samples of insects for study.
Apparently, this instruction is operating 80 % of times, so that during past
2 years, we were received small parcels from USA, France, Africa, Central
and South America without problems or damage, but some times parcels are
rejected or lost.

As an example, same week when your parcel with larvae arrive to Mexico City,
I received at my desk one small parcel from Paris Museum with adult pinned
specimens, and other from Zamorano school with adults and larvae in alcohol;
both parcels were perfectly closed and packaged, without evidence of

Apparently the safe arrival of small packages is more easy by air mail
service because, apparently, courier service is submitted to more custom

By other hand, with current federal Mexican regulations on wild life,
anybody need specific permission for exportation or importation of animals
or plants, live or dead, or its parts.  Permission is obtained mainly if the
species are not in CITES lists, and if the specimens are used for scientific

By each permission we need to pay around us$ 30.00, send letters and
complete sheets to SEMARNAP building in Mexico City, and await during 20-30
days for the printed permission.

So that, if you like to send me specimens, I need to ask for IMPORTATION
permission, paid fees, complete tramits, send to you copy of that paper for
addition on the package. If I like to send you specimens, I need to ask for
EXPORTATION permission, paid fees, complete tramits, add copy of that paper
on package.
In any case, Mexican part will need to made tramits, but with some
importations U.S. Fish and Wildlife sheet completed by US researcher is
necessary to obtain permission.

In our experience, for the loan, exchange or return of large samnples of
specimens is much better hand carry system, asking months before for the
adequate permission.

Miguel Angel
On 21 Feb 2014, at 4:25 PM, Division of Entomology wrote:



I recollect this being covered elsewhen, but a search through my email folder came up with nothing so…


Does anyone have recent experience successfully (or not!) shipping specimens to or from Mexico, specifically Mexico City? We’ve had the contents of at least one package virtually destroyed on the return trip within the last year or so and I’ve heard second or third hand of various other “issues” with getting specimens in and out of Mexico reliably. Of course we’ll be asking the local person requesting our material what *they* would recommend, but I was wondering if there was a more general consensus as to the “safest” method- USPS, FedEx, UPS, something else?


Any input would be appreciated.





Zachary H. Falin, Ph.D.

Collections Manager,


Division of Entomology,

KU Biodiversity Institute

1501 Crestline Dr., Suite 140

Lawrence, KS 66045-4401



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Brett C. Ratcliffe

Curator & Professor

Systematics Research Collections

W436 Nebraska Hall

University of Nebraska

Lincoln, NE 68588-0514  U.S.A.

TEL: (402) 472-2614

FAX: (402) 472-8949

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