A Guide To Mounting Insects on Pins

Adults from most insect orders are normally mounted on pins.  Exceptions are soft-bodied adults (e.g. Isoptera) or very tiny adults (e.g. Thysanoptera) that are preserved in alcohol in vials.   Small Adult Specimens (too small to put a pin through without destroying it) are mounted on triangular points as shown in the video “Mounting Small Insects”

Correct Location of Pin For Various Insects


Large Insects

-See Videos: “How to Pin an Insect” (above) and “Pinning Winged Insects”
-Pin insects dorsal side up; ventral surface perpendicular to pin
-10 mm of pin shaft should be free above the specimen to provide a “handle” that will allow you to move your specimen without breaking body parts and allow space for permanent labels (these will be added to replace temporary labels in Labs 10, 11)
-Where exactly the pin goes for each insect type is shown in the “Correct Pin Position” tab
-Consider visibility, breakage, and space when positioning parts
-Wings of Lepidoptera and Odonata specimens should be positioned on a spreading board (see “Pinning Winged Insects” video)


Small Insects

-See video on “Mounting Small Insects”
-Adult insects too small to pin may be glued to pinned paper points
-Points are cut from index cards (36 lb. linen ledger, 100% cotton rag) — with a special paper punch ( all available in lab)
-Use clear nail polish as glue to firmly attach the bent tip of the point to the insect’s right side just above the middle right leg (mesothorax)
-The insect should be dorsal side up.
-If you use too much glue or glue your insect to the top of the point, you may be covering up characters that will prevent identification
-When permanent labels are attached (Labs 10, 11) they should be 5 mm apart as shown to protect the specimen and conserve space.