Entomology 301 Spring 2010 Insect Systematics and Biology Insect Collection Guide CONTENTS PAGE Why an Insect Collection?................................................................ .................1 Equipment and Supplies.................................................................. .................2 Rules for Making the Collection......................................................... ...............2 Insect Collection Preparation and Curation............................................. ..........3 Preserving and Mounting Insects......................................…………… ………3 When to Mount Insects.......................................................... ............................4 Pinning Insects................................................................... ................................5 Spreading Insects................................................................ ...............................5 Point-mounting Insects.......................................................... ............................6 Preserving Insects In Alcohol................................................... .........................7 Slide-Mounting Insects.......................................................... ............................7 Labelling Insects.................................................................. ..............................8 Storing Insects.................................................................... ..............................11 Arranging the final Collection................................................... ......................11 The Collection List........................................................................ ..................12 General Information....................................................................... ..................13 WHY AN INSECT COLLECTION "Why do we have to make an insect collection"? This is a common question heard from ENTO students. The answer is that making the collection will help to integrate many of the different facts, skills, and concepts that you will learn in ENTO 301. Among its most important features is that it promotes field experience. While in the field you will have the opportunity to see where different insects are found, and to begin to develop a sense for the variety of microhabitats that are occupied by insects within any environmental setting. The diversity of taxa needed for your collection will require you to investigate the insect fauna of various microhabitats. Collecting in these microhabitats will require you to gain a working knowledge of a variety of insect collecting techniques. The differences among the insects caught in different microhabitats will help you learn to associate insects with the microhabitats in which they are found. These faunal differences may also prompt you to reflect on the biologies of the insects caught, and thus help you relate the information presented in lectures and your text to the biologies of living insects. By preserving and preparing the specimens that you collect, you will learn by practical experience the techniques involved in the basic entomological skills of pinning, pointing, labelling, slide mounting, and the alcohol preservation of insects. Identifying the specimens in your collection will give you additional opportunities to build your knowledge of identification-related insect morphology and to fine-tune your skill in the use of keys. It is almost always more interesting to identify a specimen collected yourself than one handed to you in lab. In the final analysis, the collection integrates a suite of practical skills and knowledge that will allow you to locate (requiring an understanding of biology and microhabitats), collect (requiring a knowledge of appropriate collecting techniques), preserve and prepare (requiring curatorial expertise) and identify insects (requiring familiarity with keys and associated morphology and terminology)---skills and knowledge that all entomologists should possess. Thus, we, your dearly beloved instructors , feel strongly that the making of insect collections is an extremely valuable part of this course. We hope that you will develop an appreciation for the integrative nature of the collection, that you will learn a lot from putting it together, and that you will also have some fun doing it! EQUIPMENT AND SUPPLIES We will provide you with most of the equipment and supplies that you will need to make your collection. Most equipment and supplies will be distributed during the first or second lab period, but supplemental material will be provided throughout the semester as needed. Each student must provide the following collection related supplies: (1) 100-200 insect pins, size #2 or #3 (required; these are available from the Undergraduate Entomology Club, and come in packages of 100) (2) 1 pair of hard, fine-tipped forceps (optional but highly recommended; see TA for information on where to purchase hard forceps). (3) 1 hand lens (optional but recommended, very convenient for field examination of specimens). The following collecting and collection related supplies and equipment will be provided in lab: (1) alcohol, (2) ethyl acetate [killing fluid], (3) insect points, (4) special paper for locality labels. RULES FOR MAKING THE COLLECTION 1) Specimens must be properly preserved, mounted, labelled, and accurately identified to receive full credit. 2) All specimens must be of the adult life stage. 3) All specimens must have been either: (a) personally collected by the student turning in the collection (e.g. they may not have been collected by friends or relatives, except as noted in b and c), (b) taken from insect traps set by, or samples obtained from, the instructors or teaching assistants of 301 for the purpose of making specimens available to students, or (c) obtained by trade from other 301 students as allowed under the next rule.Traded specimens MUST bear the name of the true collector of the specimens (not the name of the person turning in the collection). No exchanging or trading is allowed for extra credit specimens. 4) All specimens must have been collected in the calendar year preceding the due date of the final 301 collection. 5) Specimens from the following sources ARE NOT permitted for ENTO 301 collections: -- Specimens obtained from laboratory cultures. -- Specimens purchased for any reason. -- Specimens that have previously been included in a collection for course credit at A&M (e.g., ENTO 313) or ANYWHERE ELSE, whether in your own collection or in that of someone else. Insect collections turned in for credit at TAMU are sprayed with a compound visible under ultraviolet light, so such specimens are identifiable. If you trade with other students for specimens (see below), make sure that any specimens that you trade for have not previously been turned in for credit! If such specimens are turned in, you will receive a 0 on your collection. -- Specimens taken from the Teaching Collection (remember, these have likely been sprayed) 6) Specimens are not limited to any geographic region, but may have been collected anywhere in the world. 7) Students may collaborate on the identification of specimens, but only with other students currently enrolled in 301 (remember though, you’re on your own come quiz time!). Other collaborations for identification are prohibited except for the simple verification or refutation of tentative student identifications. 8) A 10% penalty PER DAY will be assessed for turning in any collection late. 9) Specimens turned in for 301 credit will become the property of TAMU. If you would like to keep your collection, you must (a) indicate this on the Collection List that will be turned in with your collection, and (b) turn in your collection in your own collection box(es)---DO NOT use the collection boxes issued to you in lab for this purpose (We only have a limited number of lab-owned collection boxes and these are reused each semester.) If you follow these instructions, we will (a) not remove specimens from your collection unless we ask you first (except for slides and alcohol specimens, which we always keep), and (b) hold your collection for you until the end of the semester. Collections left over the summer (after Ento 301 is over) will be incorporated into the teaching collection or disposed of. We cannot store your collection for you over the summer. INSECT COLLECTION PREPARATION AND CURATION Preserving and Mounting Insects: Which Technique to Use You will use at least three preservation and mounting techniques for your 301 insect collection---pinning, point mounting (or "pointing"), and preservation in alcohol. You may also slide mount some specimens, but if you do, please contact the TA for supplies and details. The technique(s) that you are required to use for each order of insects is given in the handout on Requirements for the Collection (if nothing is indicated, then the specimens should be pinned or point-mounted depending on body size). Note that some of the pinned insects will also need to be spread. You will need to use some discretion in deciding whether to pin or point some specimens, and there are differences among experts in the preferred preservation/ mounting techniques for some groups. Hence, a few general comments about this matter are appropriate. Selection of an appropriate general preservation/mounting technique for any insect group depends primarily on two factors--- body size and degree of body sclerotization. For hard-bodied insects, very small specimens (approx. < 1 mm) are usually slide mounted, small specimens are either slide mounted or pointed, small to medium-sized specimens are pointed or pinned and larger specimens are pinned. For soft bodied insects, small to very small specimens are usually slide mounted, small to medium sized specimens are either slide mounted or preserved in alcohol, and larger specimens are preserved in alcohol. Overlaid on top of these generalities are the traditions of preservation and mounting that have developed for different groups. For example, few specialists would fail to slide mount a flea or a louse regardless of its size or degree of sclerotization. Because it necessitates special techniques, we do not require slide mounted specimens in this course, and for your collection, these taxa should be preserved in alcohol. If you can't decided whether to pin or point a small specimen, point it (this will usually cause less damage to the specimen and make it easier for you to identify). In the pages that follow, we present the basics of pinning, pointing, slide mounting, and preservation in alcohol, and of techniques for labelling specimens prepared by each of these methods. Additional information on spreading will be presented in the lab. Have fun! When to Mount Insects Immediately after death. It is usually best to mount insects as soon as possible after they are dead. It is impossible to properly mount a dried-out insect. Dried insects are extremely fragile and are sure to break when any attempt is made to pin them. For best results, try to pin your insects in the field or immediately after you return from the field. Producing a small number of neatly mounted specimens right after a field trip will probably save you time in the long run over the alternative of collecting bags full of specimens that may dry out, mold, or rot in your apartment or dorm. One to many days later. If immediate mounting is not possible, you can maintain the flexibility of specimens for a short period by placing them in an airtight container (to prevent desiccation) with a damp (water-wetted, then rung out well) paper towel (do not let the paper towel touch the specimens as this will cause setae/scales to mat). Specimens can typically be maintained fresh in this way for a day before they become moldy and unusable. Specimens can also be frozen after placing them in an airtight container. This will maintain them almost indefinitely. BUT, they must be mounted immediately after thawing. Relaxing dried specimens. If some of your specimens become dry before you get them mounted, it is possible to relax and then mount them. It is inadvisable, however, since they can never be returned to their original flexibility, and you will probably only meet with partial success in mounting relaxed specimens correctly. The easiest and most practical (but not the best) way to relax dried specimens is to place them in an airtight container along with some source of moisture. As noted above, a paper towel soaked with water then rung out works well, but do not let the insects touch the paper towel as this may cause setae or scales to mat. Leave the insects in the container, preferably refrigerated, for only one or at most two days, then mount them immediately and carefully. Drying specimens from alcohol. Pinning or point-mounting specimens collected into alcohol involves some special concerns. Many hard-bodied insects (like most beetles) can simply be placed on a paper towel, allowed to dry, and pinned or point-mounted before they totally dry out and become brittle. However, with other insects, the wings may not dry properly or the fine hairs and setae on specimens may not return to a natural condition, giving a matted appearance to your specimen. Entomologists use several different methods to dry insects from alcohol to produce high quality specimens, many of which are specific to particular insect orders. We will have some means of drying insects from alcohol available for you in lab, and will provide training in its use. Pinning Insects Types of pins.-- Insect pins are pins specifically made for mounting insects. They come in sizes ranging from 00 (thinnest) to 7 (thickest). Use only #2 or #3 pins for your 301 collections, or get permission from the instructor (not TA) for using other sizes. Thinner pins are too easily bent; thicker pins are too broad for most insects. Where to pin.-- Most insects are pinned through the meso- or metathorax just to the right of the midline. This insures that all structures on at least one side of the insect are not damaged by the pin. In some cases there is a specific part of the thorax in which to stick the pin, while other insects are pinned through the right wing or the center of the thorax. For the pinning positions of specific insects, consult your textbook (Fig. 35-8, pp. 756) and the ends of the chapters on each order. Height on pins.-- Insects should be pinned so that the tops of the insects are a uniform distance from the top of the pin. A good distance is 8-10 mm. This distance does not have to be exact, but it should be close and uniform throughout your collection. Sufficient pin-top distance is important to allow the pin to be picked up with your fingers without touching (and possibly breaking) the specimen. Posture of specimen on pins.-- It is important that the insect thorax be straight on the pin. The pinned specimen should appear level when viewed from either side or the back. It should not slant forwards or backwards, nor list to either side. Spreading Insects For most insects, the final resting positions of the legs, wings, etc. does not matter too much, as long as all parts of these appendages can be easily seen. The wings of butterflies and moths, however, should be spread so that the veins of the wings can be seen (this is necessary for identification purposes). You are also required to spread several representatives of the Neuroptera as this will also enable them to be more readily identified. Some other groups, such as dragonflies and grasshoppers, are also commonly spread; see the document Requirements for the Insect Collection for the other taxa that you will need to spread. To spread an insect, pin the specimen through the center of the thorax. Place the specimen in the center groove of the spreading board. Make sure the pin is vertical in the groove (look at the pin from the side and the end of the pinning board). If the pin is slanted in the groove, the wings will dry in a slanted position, then, when the pin is placed vertically in your collection box, the wings will not be level. Push the vertical pin into the center groove to the point where the bases of the wings are even with the angled surfaces of the spreading board. Pull out one wing to test whether the specimen is at the right height. If not, readjust the height. Brace the sides of the body with one or more pins to counter the pull when you stretch out the wings. Using a pin inserted behind a strong anterior wing vein, move each of the wings out to the side of the body. Work on one side of the body at a time. Tip: if you are going to spread both sides of a specimen and you are right handed, spread the left side wings first; if you are left handed, spread the right wings first. Pull the fore wing out until its hind margin is slightly more than a right angle with the body. A common mistake is to put the front margin of the front wings at a 90o angle to the body (don’t fall into this trap!). Pin the fore wing in place. Pull out the hind wing on the same side until the front margin of the hind wing forms a 90oangle to the body. Pin the hind wing in place. Reset the fore wing so that there is only a narrow space between the back margin of the fore wing and the front margin of the hind wing. Pull out and pin down the wings on the opposite side of the body. After all four wings are in the correct position, place paper strips over the wings and hold them in place with pins. Make sure the paper strip covers the tip of the wing, otherwise this may curl up. Remove any pins that were placed through the wings. If these pins are left in the wings while the insect dries, the wing may become stuck to them, then, when the pins are removed, they may tear pieces of the wings out with them. After setting a specimen on a spreading board, allow it to dry for 7-10 days, depending on the size of the insect and room humidity (longer for larger specimens or higher humidity). Specimens can also be dried more quickly in an oven set to a low temperature (200-250 degrees), but it is only fair to note that several students over the years have had disastrous results with this procedure. There will also be a demonstration in lab for spreading Lepidoptera. Point Mounting Insects What is a point? A point is a small triangular piece of paper which is used to mount insects that are too small to be pinned. Points are punched from a high-quality grade of stiff, acid-free paper using a point punch. DO NOT use note cards or other kinds of paper for making points. Preparing your points. A number #2 or #3 pin is inserted through the wide end of the point and the point moved up the pin to a height of approximately 10 mm from the top of the pin (the same height as pinned insects). Bend just the tip of the point down at a 60o-90o angle using your finger nail or a pair of forceps. The small flap formed will be the surface against which you will later glue a specimen, and it should be no larger than necessary to take a little blob of glue to hold the specimen. Bending the point down too much encourages one to use too much glue. If the glue is the right tackiness, it will surprise you how little is needed. Points are best made up in small batches of 20-40 at a time for later use in the field or lab. It is bothersome to have to prepare your points when you have specimens in front of you that you want to mount. Make up a batch of points and put them in one of your foam-bottomed field boxes for later use. Mounting and posture of a specimen on a point. Place a drop of glue on a piece of paper and let it dry until it becomes tacky (a minute or two, depending on the quality of glue in your bottle). Touch the bent tip of the point to the drop of glue to obtain a small drop of glue on the tip of the point. Touch the tip of the point to the right side of the thorax of the insect to be mounted. The point should be attached directly to the side of the thorax, if possible---not just to the legs or wings. The insect should stick to the tip of the point. Before the glue dries completely, manipulate the specimen so that it is straight and level in both side and rear views, and firmly attached to the thorax. The axis of the thorax is what should be straight - don’t worry about droopy heads or abdomens. If the glue is not tacky enough when you first attach the specimen, the specimen may roll or droop before the glue dries to the point. This is why you should let the glue become quite tacky before starting to point. It is also a good practice to go back and recheck your specimens a few minutes after you initially pointed them to see whether you need to gently nudge any of them back into a horizontal position. Preserving Insects in Alcohol Place specimens to be preserved in alcohol directly into the alcohol. Do not kill them in ethyl acetate first. Place specimens of only one species in each vial. Although not absolutely necessary, the best sequence in which to "load" your vials is: (1) add alcohol, (2) add locality label, (3) add identification label, then (4) add specimen(s). Having alcohol in the vial when the labels are added helps flatten them against the side of the vial. Adding specimen(s) after the labels are in place will help avoid getting specimens squashed between the labels or between the label and the side of the vial, and will also help prevent other types of damage to your specimens that can occur when labels are added to vials that already contain specimens. At this point, you may be wondering how this sequence can be accomplished since we told you to collect specimens in the field directly into alcohol. Good point. You will need to pour the specimens into a small dish, either for identification or simply for transfer if you already know what it is. Then prepare your labels and follow the above procedure, GENTLY transferring the specimen to its vial (preferably a newly cleaned one). Labeling should always be done with indelible, permanent, black ink, NOT computer generated (see details below). Slide-Mounted Specimens Slide mounting is a complex and time-consuming operation. Only the fundamentals are mentioned here. A complete slide-making demonstration will be presented in lab if there is sufficient interest. Mount only one specimen per slide. Mount all specimens except Collembola and Siphonaptera with the ventral surface of the animal touching the slide (not cover slip) and the head pointed towards you when the labels are in the proper reading position. Specimens mounted this way will appear with the head pointed up under a compound microscope because compound microscopes project an inverted image to the eyepiece(s). Mount Collembola and fleas with the left side of the animal touching the slide and the head pointed to the left (away from the labels on the slide when the latter are in their correct reading position). Labelling Insects Locality label. The locality label contains information pertinent to the collection of an insect only. This label does not contain any information about the identification of an insect, such information goes on a separate label. The locality label is an extremely important part of insect collecting and should not be taken lightly. Do not put off your labelling -- locality data are easy to forget. An unlabelled or incorrectly labelled insect is scientifically worthless! Never allow your valuable specimens to become separated from their data. One of the best ways to do this, and the method used by many professional collectors, is to assign each different collection a separate number or entry in your field notebook, along with complete data, perhaps including a map to the location, weather conditions, etc. Then you can simply put a slip of paper with your collection number in each vial or container with specimens. Once you have pinned or pointed the specimens, you can put a small slip of paper with your collecting number on each specimen, or label the lead specimens in the series if you are sure they won't get moved around. Paper.-- Labels must be made from high quality paper that will not disintegrate in alcohol or with age. We will provide you with the proper paper - don’t use anything else. This paper is expensive, so please don’t waste it or use it for anything other than the locality label. Ink.-- Labelling should always be done with indelible, permanent, black ink (e.g., with a .05 permanent black ink Pigma pen or a Rapidograph-style pen with black India ink; pencils and ball-point pens are NOT ACCEPTABLE). Wait for a few minutes after writing the label if you are putting the label in alcohol---otherwise the label will run. Once the ink has dried, it will not come off if it gets wet or placed in alcohol. Labels for pinned specimens (NOT alcohol-preserved specimens) can be generated with a 600 dpi Laser printer. Use 4-point type and a "sans serif" font like Helvetica. Try to restrict line lengths to no more than 25 characters. Labels for specimens to be preserved in alcohol should be hand-written, they MUST NOT be computer generated on a Laser or dot-matrix printer because the permanence of such labels remains uncertain. The letters made by some Laser printers are known to simply fall off the paper after some time in alcohol and form a small pile at the bottom of the vial! However, it is possible that the blank ink currently used by Lexmark ink-jet printers in indelible, but see us for details if you are interested. Size.-- Labels should be made as small as possible. Ideally they should be no larger than the size of the insect being labeled, AND MUST BE NO LARGER THAN 1 X 2 CM. Small labels are desirable because they take up less room (storage space can be a problem when collecting many insects). They are also less “clumsy”; with small labels you are less likely to break specimens in your collection box by accidentally hitting them with the label on another specimen. To get a small label, you have to write small. This requires an appropriate writing instrument. This is why we recommend the Pigma pen (.05 size, permanent black ink) provided in your lab kit. Other alternatives are a Rapidograph-style pen (.25 or .30 tip size) or a fine-point Crow-quill pen. Format.-- First Line.-- Give broad geographic information. Include the country (usually “USA”), state/province (use standard two-letter postal abbreviations for U.S. states), and county or other smaller political subdivision (e.g., “USA: TX: Brazos Co.”). Second Line.-- Give the “site” location. This is usually a city or town, or a short, abbreviated, description of the site location relative to a town of sufficient size that it would be found on a typical state highway map (e.g., “5 km NE Bryan”). Use metric distance measurements (1 mi. = 1.609 km). Third Line.-- Give collecting date information. There are several acceptable ways to write the date, however, we will use what is arguably the best format: “1.x.2000” [=1 October 2000]. Use lower case Roman numerals to represent the month (this is an international entomological standard). Use periods (without adjacent spaces) to separate the day, month and year (periods use less label space than slashes or dashes). Place the day first, then the month, then the year (this separates the Arabic numerals with a Roman numeral and keeps the date in “ascending” order). Never use three numbers separated solely by slashes or dashes on an insect label, such formats are confusing because the standards vary from country to country regarding the relative position of the day and month. Fourth Line.-- Give the collector’s name. If you acquire specimens collected by someone else, put the actual collector’s name on the label. The name can be spelled out in full or cited with given names as initials followed by the full surname. Do not put just the surname (how many insect collectors surnamed “Smith” do you think there have been in the last 200 years?). Abbreviate the surname only if it is longer than one full label line. If the collector has a short name, you may be able to include both the date and collector’s name on the same line. Fifth Line (OPTIONAL).-- Give any special information about the circumstances of the insect’s capture. This may be the name of the host from which it was taken in the case of parasitic or phytophagous insects, what the insect was doing at the time of capture, more detailed information on its exact location at the time of capture (e.g., at light, Berlese sample, etc.) or perhaps a note on something particularly interesting or unusual about the circumstances in which the insect was found. Notes.-- The lines mentioned above do not necessarily have to take up one full line on the label. The object is to have a label that is as small and compact as possible. Therefore, information from one line may (if too long) be broken at a line space and continued on the following line or (if short) be added to a line containing information from the preceding or succeeding “logical” line. You may also add a second label if biological information (e. g. rearing record) is extensive. Trimming.-- Pinned & Pointed Specimens.-- Trim top, bottom and left margins so that there is almost no “white space” outside the text. Trim right margin perpendicular to the longest label line. A trimmed label for a pinned specimen should look something like this and should be no longer than 1cm x 2cm: USA: TX: Brazos Co.: 10 km SE College Station 23.ix.1995 J.B. Woolley ex. Quercus stellata Alcohol Specimens.-- The size of the locality label for specimens preserved in alcohol is much larger than for pinned or pointed specimens. Trim alcohol vial labels so that the height of the label is equal to half the circumference (NOT the diameter) of the vial (this will prevent the label from “floating” freely in the alcohol, where it can be difficult to read; to get the label height, measure the outside circumference of the vial, divide by two, then subtract 3-4 mm to approximate the inside circumference of the vial). The length of the label should be a little shorter than the length of the wide part of the vial---the label should not stick into the neck of the vial. Obviously, the size of the label will change depending upon the size of the vial used. A trimmed label for a specimen to be preserved in alcohol might look something like this: USA: TX: Brazos Co. 10 km SE College Station 23.ix.1995 J.B. Woolley ex. Quercus stellata Note that (1) there is much more white space around the printed part of the label than there is for labels of pinned or pointed specimens, (2) the kinds and arrangement of locality label data are the same as for pinned or pointed specimens, (3) ecological data are usually included on the last line of the label, and (4) the identification DOES NOT go on the locality label. Where to Put the Locality Label.-- Pinned Specimens.-- Place the locality label about 15 mm from the bottom of the pin. The exact height is not critical, but be consistent within your collection. For specimens with bodies smaller than the surface area of the label, pin through the label at a place where the label will be approximately centered under the body of the specimen and its appendages (this takes up less collection space and will help protect the specimen). This will often mean placing the pin somewhere other than through the center of the label. For larger specimens, pin through the label at a place where the body of the specimen will cover as much of the label as possible (or, if the specimen is very large, pin through the center of the label). Do not, however, pin too close to the edge of the label, or pin directly through any lettering on the label (pin between, not through, individual letters). On pinned (NOT POINTED) specimens, orient the label so that its text lines run parallel to the long axis of the specimen AND read correctly when you face the left side of the specimen. Pointed Specimens.-- As for pinned specimens except: (1) center the locality label under both the specimen and the point---the pin will pierce the label off-center. This centering conserves collection space and helps protect the specimen if it is accidentally dropped, for example. (2) orient the label so that its text lines run parallel to the long axis of the point (not the long axis of the specimen) AND read correctly when you face the posterior end of the specimen (i.e., with the point facing to your left). Alcohol Specimens.-- Roll up the label and slip it into a vial already filled with alcohol. The label text must face to the outside (this ensures that the specimen(s)---which should be in the lumen of the vial not squished between the label and the side of the vial---do not obscure the text of the label) AND the left margin of the label is at the bottom of the vial (the text will be in proper reading orientation when the open end of the vial is held in the right hand). Slide-mounted Specimens-- Use the presized, adhesive-backed slide labels that will be available in lab to label your slides. You should not have to trim these labels. However, be careful to center them on the ends of the slide so that they do not hang over the edges of the slide (labels with overhanging edges are liable to catch on something and get peeled off). Place the locality label on the right side of the slide. Identification label. It may surprise you to learn that an identification label is much less important than a locality label! But if you think about it, someone can always identify the specimen again later (usually, anyway), but once the locality information is lost the specimen is worthless to science. Normally, the identification label for a pinned or pointed specimen would go on the pin below the locality label, with enough space between the two so that the identification label can be read without moving either label. However, for the purposes of your 301 collection, the identification labels for pinned and pointed specimens must be placed on a separate pin just to the left of the specimen with which the label is associated. For pinned and pointed specimens, the identification label should bear the family name of the insect in question (see nect two paragraphs and the section on “Arranging the Collection” for information on how to label insect orders). For alcohol specimens, the identification label must contain the Order and Family name of the specimen. The identification for specimens in alcohol MUST go on a second label the same size as the locality label. The identification label is placed back-to-back against the locality label with the identification text facing towards the lumen of the vial. Placing the identification text on a second label allows this label to be removed and replaced without disturbing the locality label should the name or identification of the specimen need to be changed. For slide-mounted specimens, the identification must contain the Order and Family name of the specimen. Use the same type of presized, adhesive-backed label as you did for the locality data. You should not have to trim these labels. Place the identification label on the left side of the slide. Storing Insects Use the boxes issued to you in lab to store your insects (if you run out of space, request another box from the TA). Dead insects are desirable food for many live insects, and they will go to considerable lengths to destroy your collection! Ants, roaches, dermestid beetles and book lice are the worst culprits. It is advisable to take some sort of precaution against these pests. Always keep a tight lid on your collection when it is not in use. This alone, however, is seldom enough. It is a good idea to keep a few mothballs in your collection box. Be sure to anchor them down somehow, otherwise they may roll around and destroy the insects that you spent so much time mounting. A perforated matchbox filled with mothballs or flakes held down with pins in the corner of your Schmitt box is a good way to avoid these problems. Unprotected, dry insects are always eaten by these pests eventually, it's only a matter of time. If you use a styrofoam box, be aware that the lids are often not very tight, and moth balls or flakes will melt the styrofoam. Arranging the Collection Pinned & Pointed Specimens.-- Place your pinned and pointed insects in your Schmitt boxes in the sequence in which the orders and families appear in your textbook. Arrange your specimens in straight rows from left to right. Start each new row on the left side of the box. The identification label for each specimen must be placed on a separate pin immediately to the left of the specimen. A label containing the name of the Order must be placed on a separate pin just to the left of the family identification label of the first pinned or pointed specimen in each order. Identification labels should be oriented vertically in the collection to save space. CHECK YOUR SPELLING CAREFULLY!! Points will be deducted for misspelled insect names. Make the identification labels approximately 25 mm by 15 mm in size. Identification labels may be hand- lettered, typed or computer generated. Arrange the identification labels in such a manner that they lie flat on the bottom of the box. Identification labels should be read in the same direction as the data labels. Alcohol Specimens.-- Place your vials in a separate small box or in a small bag. Put your name on the outside of the container. Do not put your vials in the same box with your pinned specimens (if they accidentally roll around and break your pinned specimens they could do serious damage to your collection grade!). The vials do not have to be arranged in any specific order when you turn them in. THE COLLECTION LIST A separate Collection List (typed or computer-generated) must be submitted with your final insect collection. Tape the list to the top of the first box in your Collection. Lists must be in the phylogenetic order used in your textbook (and, therefore, in the same order as your pinned and pointed specimens in the collection, but with the addition of the specimens on slides and in vials in proper sequence). Follow the sequence in which the families are listed at the beginning of the chapter for each order. In each list, indicate the preservation/mounting method used for each specimen (slide, pinned, pointed, alcohol). Specifically indicate any extra credit specimens. Use the following format as closely as possible for your collection list: COLLECTION LIST Optional: I would like to keep my collection. I am submitting it in my own boxes/containers. I will pick it up before the date for spring graduation. Order Family Preservation # Specimens Extra Method Credit Odonata Libellulidae pinned 2 Neuroptera Corydalidae pinned 2 Raphidiidae pinned 1 x Hemerobiidae pointed 2 Chrysopidae pinned 2 Coleoptera Carabidae pinned 2 Staphylinidae pointed 2 Hydrophilidae pinned 2 ...etc. Mecoptera Panorpidae pinned 1 Siphonaptera Pulicidae slide 2 Diptera Tipulidae pinned 1 Chironomidae pointed 2 Syrphidae pinned 2 Muscidae pinned 2 ...etc Trichoptera Hydropsychidae alcohol 1 Lepidoptera Gracillariidae pinned 1 Nymphalidae pinned 1 ...etc. Hymenoptera Tenthredinidae pinned 2 Braconidae pinned 2 Chrysididae pinned 2 Apidae pinned 2 Vespidae pinned 2 General Information A series of informal field trips will be offered to help you find and collect specimens for your collection. Each trip will be lead by the instructor and/or the TA. The field trips are optional, but highly recommended. A motivated individual could collect the required specimens without participating in the field trips. However, we have designed the field trips to be a fun and interesting means of getting you into the field and into a variety of different habitats where different insects can be found. The field trips will provide scheduled field opportunities that may be particularly helpful for students with little collecting experience, or who find it difficult to get out into the field.
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