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Diptera.info :: Miscellaneous :: General queries
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Pinning flies and wasps and some curious questions.
jorgemotalmeida
#1 Print Post
Posted on 23-04-2007 17:48
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Hi


I'm interested in pinning flies and wasps. I don?t know which sites are really trust for the correct procedure to do this task.
I have pins, but not yet the boxes... where can I find very good boxes to put wasps, and flies for pinning? (perhaps 50 cm x 50 cm x 5 cm is enough? --) Foambox to cover boxes is the best way to put the wasps? Which are the other materials are considered for pinning?
I know that our specimens must be very dry to avoid fungi attack, and then we must have our boxes the most drier possible because fungi spores can survive even during drier conditions... but it humidity appears... then they will attack. Sad
another curious question... Why can't bacterias "eat" wasps' (flies'Wink exoskeleton??
Perhaps the answer resides in the type of materials that compose the exoskeleton and that bacteria doesn't have enzymes that could decompose the exoskeleton... but this answer doesn't satisfy me. Sad

Usually which is the best way to organize the boxes? For families? For capture date of specimens?



Thank you!
Edited by jorgemotalmeida on 23-04-2007 18:02
 
http://www.flickr.com/photos/superegnum
ChrisR
#2 Print Post
Posted on 23-04-2007 18:38
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Ewww ... big questions, which I might take to email later on the fine detail. But here goes:

When collecting for science (as opposed to for 'pretty displays'Wink there are only usually 2 things to think about:

1. protecting the specimen in the best way possible in the short & long term
2. preparing the specimen so that it can be identified as easily as possible

With each group of insects you may discover different answers to those questions, depending on how hard/soft the specimen it and which features the identification keys use. Some keys/groups assume that specimens are preserved in alcohol (eg. spiders / molluscs) and others assume they will be dry (eg. most insects). I will assume we are talking about Diptera & Hymenoptera. Also, please remember a lot of this is my personal preference - others might/will disagree!! Smile

I pin most specimens on their sides (lateral pinning) with very fine micro pins; diagonally so that I don't destroy the same feature on both sides. I then make a 'stage' using a thin strip of plastazote (high density foam rubber) and push a thick (size 3 or above) 'continential-sized' entomological 'stage-pin' through one end so the stage sticks out perpendicularly. The micro pin is then pushed firmly into the foam stage.

This method protects small/medium specimens very well while displaying as many features as you can. The stage-pin is strong and easy to hold/manipulate when moving the specimen and the stage absorbs most vibrations.

Also, this method lends itself very well to bulk-collecting of groups that take a while to identify. I will go out for a day in the field and catch maybe 50 insects. I pin them with micro pins and immediately put them in a clear plastic box with a sheet of foam at the bottom and 1 label containing all the data for that group of insects. Then when I have time to identify them I put a specimen on a stage; identify it; and put the specimen's labels (copy of the data & a seperate label for the name) on the big stage-pin, under the stage.

You can direct-pin, 'top-down' (dorsally) but I only do this with very large specimens (eg. Tachina spp. or bigger). Also, with hymenoptera many people prefer gluing the insect to card but I feel that very fine micro pins are much easier to use (glue is very messy); allow for moving later (glue can be dissolved but it isn't easy); need not destroy much/any surface features; and in general I like to have 1 mounting method for all my specimens.

As I mentioned, I use the flat, clear, plastic boxes for pre-identified specimens and they keep everything clean and dry and take up very little space. But when staged the specimen goes into a larger wooden store box. As long as they are kept indoors and dry they should be fine. If you are worried about pests getting in and eating the specimens you can always freeze them for a week or more in a household freezer. Many museums do this as a matter of course as many insecticide chemicals (napthalene etc) are now banned.

I arrange identified specimens taxonomically down to sub-family and then alphabetically there after. But with larger collections you might want to group by tribe too.

I'll email you some photos of my collection here so you can see. Oh, and I don't know why bacteria can't eat insect chitin Smile
 
http://tachinidae.org.uk
crex
#3 Print Post
Posted on 23-04-2007 19:05
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Chris Raper wrote: ... I'll email you some photos of my collection here so you can see ...


Could be interesting to see Smile
 
ChrisR
#4 Print Post
Posted on 23-04-2007 19:42
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I've actually been compiling this mini-article on a webpage on my website. When I get the photos finished I'll post the URL here so everyone can see Smile

I don't have a museum-standard collection but it does work well for me and I have developed the techniques over the last few years after going on the Imperial College / Natural History Museum parasitic hymenoptera course. Smile
Edited by ChrisR on 23-04-2007 19:48
 
http://tachinidae.org.uk
ChrisR
#5 Print Post
Posted on 25-04-2007 20:06
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I have put a mini-article with some small photos here: http://chrisraper...rating.htm - let me know if it is useful/interesting Smile
 
http://tachinidae.org.uk
diphascon
#6 Print Post
Posted on 25-04-2007 20:51
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jorgemotalmeida wrote:
another curious question... Why can't bacterias "eat" wasps' (flies'Wink exoskeleton??
Thank you!


Hello,

in fact, there are "chitinovorous bacteria" as well as chitin degrading fungi. So why do fungi bother the collecting entomologist more than bacteria? A few speculations:

First of all, I think there isn't only chitin but also a lot of all the rest available on a dead dried insect (protein, fat etc.). OK, that's not an answer ...

Second, as far as I know, some fungi are much better than bacteria when it comes to extracting water (which all living beings need) from almost dry substrates (see e.g. the mould on your jam. Many bacteria would like the sugar as well but cannot get water out of the highly osmotic stuff).

Third, if there would be a tiny little bit of bacterial growth on your pinned flies (maybe there actually is, and more is not to be expected) it would probably be hard to detect that at all for the non-microbiologist. Fungi grow in conspicious filaments that are easily seen but bacteria form plaques on dry surfaces that are usually tiny and invisible under "natural" conditions.

cheers - martin
 
conopid
#7 Print Post
Posted on 25-04-2007 21:13
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This firm http://www.entosphinx.cz/_CZ/EU/ have some good value boxes and other equipment.
Nigel Jones, Shrewsbury, United Kingdom
 
Tony Irwin
#8 Print Post
Posted on 26-04-2007 20:43
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Chris - I think your article is an excellent account of my system too! The only difference is that I pin a sheet of very thin paper (typewritwer "flimsy" paper) over the foam, so that I can write the data on it and draw a line to separate my batches of flies - most of my flies are much smaller than yours, so there's more chance of getting them muddled up!Grin
Tony
----------
Tony Irwin
 
ChrisR
#9 Print Post
Posted on 26-04-2007 21:20
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It's strange how much heat & light is generated when I suggest to people that side-pinning is a great way to prepare tachinids. So many still direct-pin dorsally, which I absolutely hate. Often direct-pinners use very thin pins which bend or 'twang' easily OR they use 'nails' that obliterate the post-sutural ac. Either way the episternum is usually invisible and the legs are hidden under the wings and cover up the katepisternum (sigh) .. sorry, rant over! Grin
 
http://tachinidae.org.uk
Tony T
#10 Print Post
Posted on 28-04-2007 15:47
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Tony Irwin wrote:
.... I pin a sheet of very thin paper (typewritwer "flimsy" paper) over the foam, so that I can write the data on it and draw a line to separate my batches of flies - most of my flies are much smaller than yours, so there's more chance of getting them muddled up!Grin
.
In North America the standard system is to use small open boxes 'UNIT TRAYS" that have a foam bottom and come in 4 sizes; standard width but different lengths. These are placed in storage boxes or cabinet drawers that have a plain botom (no foam). Arranging and sorting specimens is easy and reduces the risk of damage. 1 species per unit tray.
Tony T attached the following image:


[79.8Kb]
 
ChrisR
#11 Print Post
Posted on 28-04-2007 20:47
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It's an interesting system. Works well for groups that are constantly being reorganised and I guess it is useful for large museums because they can reuse the same cabinets for insects or snails or minerals - just about anything that fits in the trays. Smile

My whole collection is in store-boxes at the moment but when I decide to create a cabinet collection I'll certainly consider the unit-tray system.
 
http://tachinidae.org.uk
jorgemotalmeida
#12 Print Post
Posted on 28-04-2007 21:16
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wowo! fantastic collection. I would be very appreciated if I could see a larger version of these photos to see details. Grin
 
http://www.flickr.com/photos/superegnum
Tony T
#13 Print Post
Posted on 28-04-2007 21:45
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jorgemotalmeida wrote:
...I would be very appreciated if I could see a larger version of these photos to see details.

Details of what? The tabanids or the unit trays.Sad
 
jorgemotalmeida
#14 Print Post
Posted on 28-04-2007 22:23
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the details of flies, of course. Smile
Edited by jorgemotalmeida on 28-04-2007 22:24
 
http://www.flickr.com/photos/superegnum
Tony T
#15 Print Post
Posted on 28-04-2007 22:43
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jorgemotalmeida wrote:
the details of flies, of course. Smile

The idea of the photos was to show examples of unit trays.
I would not know where to start with the tabanids. I'm sure that Paul and others would be less than delighted if I posted several hundred images of North American tabanidsShock
 
jorgemotalmeida
#16 Print Post
Posted on 04-09-2007 20:30
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please, advice me very good wooden boxes with an excellent coverage above (transparent) for pinned flies (to avoid fungi). (i'm thinking about 1 m x 1 m sizes?) And the background must be in which kind of material?
links. Smile
 
http://www.flickr.com/photos/superegnum
Kahis
#17 Print Post
Posted on 04-09-2007 20:47
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jorgemotalmeida wrote:
please, advice me very good wooden boxes with an excellent coverage above (transparent) for pinned flies (to avoid fungi). (i'm thinking about 1 m x 1 m sizes?) And the background must be in which kind of material?
links. Smile


40x50 cm is big enough, much larger and the boxes will get very heavy and dificult to handle. I have my collection organised as an unit collection (photos to follow). The background of each unit is simply 1cm thick styrofoam. There are other, much better materials, but at 50x the cost, my choice was easy Smile
Kahis
 
www.iki.fi/kahanpaa
jorgemotalmeida
#18 Print Post
Posted on 04-09-2007 20:58
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don?t forget to advice trusty stores. Smile
 
http://www.flickr.com/photos/superegnum
conopid
#19 Print Post
Posted on 04-09-2007 21:06
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Try these people:
http://www.entosphinx.cz/_CZ/EU/
who appear to post to anywhere in Europe.
Nigel Jones, Shrewsbury, United Kingdom
 
Kahis
#20 Print Post
Posted on 04-09-2007 21:08
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First, non-sorted, pinned material is stored in various small plastic household boxes like this smiley one. The background is cut for a cheap, used camping mattress Smile. The background is glued to the box with any glue at hand that is not water-based (I've used rubber cement and silicone). They are rather small, typically 15x15 cm. Cost per box: 2-3?.

A few times a year, I empty all these small boxes and sort the flies to family level for further identification. At this time they are moved to the 'collection proper'
Kahis attached the following image:


[48.4Kb]
Edited by Kahis on 04-09-2007 21:08
Kahis
 
www.iki.fi/kahanpaa
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