[Taxacom] dissections slides vs preservation
dyanega at ucr.edu
Sun Jan 29 13:04:51 CST 2017
Speaking as a museum curator, what I have seen done varies among taxa:
(1) for medium to large things with well-sclerotized internal genitalia,
such as bees, wasps, and beetles, the genital capsules and sometimes
associated sternites are often removed and point- or card-mounted with
the specimen, or placed in a gel-cap. (2) for medium to large things
with partially to mostly membranous genitalia, such as spiders, leps and
certain hemipterans and flies, vials with glycerin seem to be the method
of choice. (3) for small things, slide mounts are most common, but some
meticulous folks make tiny point mounts or use tiny vials (with or
without glycerin); clearly subject to personal curatorial preference.
(4) groups with mostly external (or easily-everted) genitalia are often
simply mounted with the genitalia very slightly spread and allowed to
dry in that position for visibility. (5) in the occasional cases I've
seen where an abdomen had to be removed, if it is large, it is glued to
a card mount and pinned along with the specimen, and if it is small, it
typically goes into a vial along with the genitalia.
I've seen literally millions of specimens, in dozens of museums
worldwide, and can't really recall any other techniques I've seen
employed for long-term preservation.
I will note that at least a few recent papers I've seen have links to 3D
scans of genitalia, which promises to be a really helpful tool if it
becomes a common technique, and could help reduce the necessity for
physical preservation of genitalic preparations.
Doug Yanega Dept. of Entomology Entomology Research Museum
Univ. of California, Riverside, CA 92521-0314 skype: dyanega
phone: (951) 827-4315 (disclaimer: opinions are mine, not UCR's)
"There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82
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