Wet Specimen labels - 20 year test

Lynn Raw raw at ZOOLOGY.UNP.AC.ZA
Tue May 7 14:57:28 CDT 1996

I note with interest the comments on labels for wet specimens. I seem
to remember that this subject has previously come up on this list.

Perhaps you may be interested in my experience with a material called
"TYVEK". It is frequently used to produce so-called "security
envelopes" for use in snail mail and this in fact has been a source
of many of my labels. I type consecutive specimen numbers on narrow
strips of the material, punch in a series of tie-holes, add thread
(usually crochet cotton of an appropriate thichness) and cut off
labels as required. I have always used an old portable typewriter for
this, and because my one-finger typing is rather forceful, even if
the ink fades after years in alcohol, the number is still clearly
visible as an embossing on the label. I started using these labels in
the early to mid 1970s and have had no problems with disintegration
so far. The specimens are kept in dilutions of various alcohols
(ethanol, isopropanol, methylated spirit), formalin (rarely),
acetone, and other experimental liquids.

While this method does not provide for data to be attached to the
specimen, it will allow for permanent (I assume) identification of a
specimen with a catalogue entry.

Lynn Raw
(raw at zoology.unp.ac.za)

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