Lab 1. Collecting & Preserving Part 1: Meadow Field Trip

In this lab you will observe insects commonly found in open field environments and learn how to collect and mount them for scientific study. 


Main objectives of this lab are to help you:

  1.   learn where to look for insects and how to collect them safely
  2.   learn how to preserve and label insect specimens for scientific study


1. Review Insect Collection Instructions

Before lab, look over all pages and videos of these instructions.

2. Paperwork

Fill out Equipment Sign-Out form.

DE STUDENTS you need to sign out your collecting equipment by Friday of the second week of the semester, or you will need to purchase it on your own (see Moodle site for details).  Also, within the first 2 weeks of class you need to make arrangements for taking the Lab Practical Exams and other exams (see Moodle site for details).

3. Pick Up Equipment

You will be provided equipment (see materials list below) for collecting and preserving insects on your way to the bus for the field trip.

4. Travel to “Meadow” for Insect Collecting

You will be shown where and how to collect insects with your equipment in a meadow-like habitat.

5. Lab Exercise: Preserve One Specimen

We will work together to correctly preserve (pin, label, and organize in labelled specimen box) one insect specimen, specifically a katydid.  This exercise will be worth 10 points towards your Insect Collection.

RUBRIC.  10 points totaled from:

  • 3  for correctly mounted katydid specimen
  • 3  for correct permanent labels (use katydid example labels provided on the Insect_Collection_Labels form; labels provided in lab)
  • 2  for a correct permanent order label in specimen box (labels provided in lab)
  • 2 for mothball(s) secured with pins in one corner of specimen box

DE STUDENTS: take a high resolution, focused image (example below) from the left side of your labelled specimen to submit on the ENT 425 Moodle site (see Moodle site for image and submission details).


6. Preserve Remainder of Specimens

Remember to correctly store your specimens.  Before the next lab period, pin as many specimens as possible from the insects you collected in today’s field trip.  You can use temporary labels until you can make permanent labels.


You will need the following for this lab:

  1. Collecting and Preserving gear (signed out at beginning of lab = (a) 1 net; (b) Tote Bag 1 containing spreading board, killing jar, ethyl acetate squeeze bottle, trowel, magnifier, and tupperware (for storing insects in freezer prior to mounting); (c) Tote bag 2 containing specimen box (inside are pinning block, specimen viewing block, 20 vials, Lepidoptera triangles (2 sizes), several cut pieces of cardstock [specimen drying supports], a few pins, and paper points)
  2. Insect pins (“leftovers” provided in lab, or from bookstore, or a biological supply house)
  3. Labels, both temporary (cut pieces of paper) and permanent (printed from “Collection Instructions”)
  4. 70% ethyl alcohol and “Kahle’s Solution” (both provided in lab)
  5. Smartphone or computer, to access class website