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Student Insect Collection Guide

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					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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