storing insects for morphology AND molecules

Johan Liljeblad johan.liljeblad at NRM.SE
Fri Apr 11 12:32:15 CDT 2003

Dear all,

please excuse me if you receive this in more than one copy, as I am posting my
question on both Taxacom and Bugnet, as well as Parahym.

My question concerns catching and storing insects in different concentrations of
ethanol under different storing temperatures. Ideally I would like the material
to be available both for morphological study as well as DNA-sequencing. The main
groups of interest in the inventory I am carrying out, are small hymenopterans
and dipterans.

For morphology: what is the ideal concentration according to your experience,
and how high can you go before material usually becomes too brittle,
cecidomyiids are bad enough as it is in 70%? How long can you store really small
Hymenoptera and Diptera before they degrade too much, and how much does
temperature matter?

For molecules: I have heard that 96% ethanol isn't necessarily the best. Yes,
you get rid of the water, but the DNA might become fragile in the process so you
might be better off even with 70%. Do you have any recommendations as to how
long you can store material at different temperatures and ethanol concentrations?

Do you think that storing in 80% as cold as possible (maybe fridge temp) could
be a possible compromise?

If you have any recommendations it would also be valuable to know from which
group(s), and when appropriate which gene(s), your experience applies to.



Dr. Johan Liljeblad
Project coordinator
Department of Entomology
Swedish Museum of Natural History
P.O.Box 50007
SE-104 05 Stockholm

Phone: +46851954091
Cell:  +46705178254
Fax:   +46851954099

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