Specimen Preparation and Preservation
- Preserving Insect Specimens: please refer to Lab 1 Exercise on the course Moodle site for how to correctly store and preserve specimens.
- See Guide to Mounting Insects on Pins to learn the correct way to pin and point adult insects of different sizes.
- See Instructions for Spreading Insect Wings to learn the correct way to preserve Lepidoptera and Odonata that require their wings to be spread.
- See Preserving Insects in Alcohol to learn the correct way to preserve immature specimens or soft-bodied adults.
- See Specimen Labeling to learn how to properly label each pinned insect specimen and each alcohol vial specimen.
- Arranging Specimens in Specimen Box: see examples/videos provided in Labs 1, 2, 9, 10, 11 on the course Moodle site.
- WHEN IN DOUBT always refer to the course Moodle site or ask the instructor.
Ecological Category Explanations:
Assigning ecological categories (listed below) to specimens is a VERY important part of your collection that is worth ~1/3 of the collection points. At first it seems like there are a lot of categories. But remember, you don’t need to assign categories to all your specimens, and some can have multiple categories. The katydid example from Lab 1 exercise satisfies four categories. Since many insects can meet multiple categories, this is not as difficult as it first appears, especially if you look at the lecture material. The aim of this requirement is to have you appreciate that insects fill a wide range of ecological roles. If a single specimen fills two or more ecological categories, put all categories on a single ecological label. Keep in mind there are penalties for guessing (see Insect Collection Grading Sheet in Moodle for details)
|Herbivore – chewing||Insects with mandibulate mouthparts that feed on plants||grasshopper|
|Herbivore – sucking||Insects with haustellate mouthparts that feed on plants||aphid|
|Parasite of vertebrates||Insects that feed parasitically on vertebrate hosts||mosquito|
|Parasitoid||Parasitic insects that feed in or on other insects (kill, eat 1 host)||ichneumonid wasp|
|Predator||Insects that prey on other insects (kill, eat multiple prey)||dragonfly|
|House Pest||Any insect that could be considered a pest in human structures||cockroach|
|Outdoor Pest||Any insect that could be considered a pest outside of human structures||corn earworm|
|Pollinator||Any insect that pollinates plants||honey bee|
|Active at night||Any insect that has its main activity period at night||most moths|
|Social Insect||Any insect that displays some level of social behavior||paper wasp|
|Warning Color||Any insect that displays aposematic coloration||paper wasp|
|Cryptic color||Any insect that uses coloration as camouflage||katydid|
|Chemical defense||Any insect that uses chemicals to defend itself||stink bug|
|Aquatic adult||Any insect that’s primary adult habitat is aquatic||water boatman|
|Aquatic Immature||Any insect that’s primary larval habitat is aquatic||mayfly naiad|
|Resides in leaf litter||Any insect/hexapod that’s primary habitat includes leaf litter||collembola|
|Resides in/eats wood||Any insect that’s primary habitat/food is wood||termite|
|Case maker||Any insect that constructs a defensive case around itself||caddis fly larvae|
|Leaf roller/tier||Any insect larva that rolls or ties leaves around itself||maple leafroller larva|
|Leaf miner||Any insect larva that mines/feeds between epidermal leaf layers||locust miner|
|Tree/plant borer||Any insect that bores/feeds into plant or tree stems||corn borer|
|Gall maker||Any insect creating a gall-like structure on plants for feeding/defense||oak gall wasp|
|Seed feeder||Any insect that feeds primarily on seeds||acorn weevil|
|Detritivore||Any insect that feeds primarily on decaying organic material||dung beetle|
|Geophile/Geobiont||Any insect with part of its life cycle dependent on soil as habitat||corn rootworm|
|Mimic||Any insect that uses mimesis or mimicry for defense or predation||swallowtail larva|
|Acoustic Communication||Any insect that uses sound to communicate with other organisms||katydid|
|Microbe symbiont dependent||Any insect dependent on microbes for such things as breaking down otherwise indigestible food||termite|
Purchasing insect specimens is NOT permitted in this course and will result in 0 points for the insect collection. No credit will be given for specimens that have erroneous date/locality data, or specimens used previously in other entomology courses. Insects collected previously by yourself (properly prepared) may be used sparingly. Trading insects between members of the class is permitted but not encouraged (the date/locality label must show the identity of the original collector).
Please refer to “Insect Collection Grading Sheet” and “Finishing Your Insect Collection” in “Course Resources Quick Links” at the top of the course Moodle site.