[Taxacom] dissections slides vs preservation

Tony Irwin tony.irwin at btinternet.com
Sun Jan 29 14:32:05 CST 2017

I would agree with everything that Doug says, but would caution against the
use of gel-caps, except for temporary storage. Recently we were
transferring some specimens with 20-year-old gel caps, and noticed that
they had become very fragile, with several shattering during the transfer.
As a relatively cheap alternative, plastic microcentrifuge tubes (Eppendorf
type, with caps attached by a plastic strap) can be used. A pin is pushed
through a small piece of plastic foam, and the tube snapped shut, with the
strap securely held around the foam on the pin. (It is also much easier to
access the contents!)

Dr A.G.Irwin
47 The Avenues
Norfolk NR2 3PH

mobile: +44(0)7880707834
phone: +44(0)1603 453524

On 29 January 2017 at 19:04, Doug Yanega <dyanega at ucr.edu> wrote:

> 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.
> Peace,
> --
> 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)
>              http://cache.ucr.edu/~heraty/yanega.html
>   "There are some enterprises in which a careful disorderliness
>         is the true method" - Herman Melville, Moby Dick, Chap. 82
> _______________________________________________
> Taxacom Mailing List
> Taxacom at mailman.nhm.ku.edu
> http://mailman.nhm.ku.edu/cgi-bin/mailman/listinfo/taxacom
> The Taxacom Archive back to 1992 may be searched at:
> http://taxacom.markmail.org
> Nurturing Nuance while Assaulting Ambiguity for 30 Years, 1987-2017.

More information about the Taxacom mailing list