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Beetle Specimen Pinning: Specimen washing


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Hello all,

 

I typically collect and freeze my specimens before pinning them - then pin them directly out of the freezer. I'm starting to explore macrophotography and am running into the issue of dried body fluid and detritus showing up on the specimens post processing. I've seen that acetone has potential degreasing successes, in addition to seeing other collectors do a 3/4 part soapy water soak, dry, and rise method for cleaning there specimens. Can I soak them in soapy water prior to pinning them right out of the freezer, or is there a better process to ensure the soft tissue doesn't break down during the soaking?

 

Thanks in advance!

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If the insects being pinned are not dried, but only been killed in freezer, that can happen especially with large bodied species. But when I pin beetles out of freezer, I usually let them sat for 30-60 minutes to melt it down completely and then wipe any excess water (or body fluid) off before I start pinning them. Anything small, I don't. Another method to kill insects is using alcohol.

Things will be so much easier if the specimens are clean with no debris upon photography, but dust and debris, or such stains can easily be removed while processing images. Below is an original image of a sole specimen of male Strategus splendens collected from state Louisiana, deposited in Louisiana State Arthropod Museum (Baton Rouge, LA). Because this specimen did not belong to me, I had no choice but to just photograph it and remove everything later. I didn't want to risk it and damage the specimen.

Ssplendens_lateral_R.jpg.4467ed3ded87db22db7bc168e38d8cd1.jpg

 

The final image with all those dust and debris removed can be found in:
https://junsukkim.wordpress.com/2018/06/03/strategus-splendens-palisot-de-beauvois-1809-coleoptera-scarabaeidae-dynastinae/

You just have to be very careful not to alter any morphological characters while doing it.

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Biouip sells a fluid, it's made of ethyl alcohol, ethyl acetate and Benzene, for cleaning and relaxing beetles. I would guess it's the alcohol and acetate that

do the work, and the Benzene is a mold inhibitor.

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