results of drying and degreasing methods

Liz Day beebuzz at
Sun Aug 26 00:37:53 EDT 2001

I appreciated the information from everyone on how they dry specimens in 
humid weather and other problems.   Some results and notes below.

1. Drying in the parked car seemed to work well.   It is very fast (one 
day).   About a third of the polyphemus moth specimens got visible grease 
on them, usually along the border between the fore and hind wings (the 
overlap of the wings probably makes a tube for it to travel from the 
abdomen); the rest did not.
NB - With styrofoam spreading boards you can easily wash the grease off 
them; with wooden ones this would have been a mess.

2. Degreasing the abdomens in 2 successive soakings of VMP naptha worked 
well, but I couldn't figure out a good way to label the abdomens to which 
moth it went to.

3.  Degreasing a whole spread specimen takes a LOT of naptha, and it seems 
you must turn the specimen over and soak both sides.  If you just soak it 
on its back, the legs stick out of the naptha and remain covered with 
grease.  Soaking a single polyphemus on both sides requires two successive 
baths of fresh naptha 5" wide and 1.5" deep (to accommodate the pin through 
it).    This is expensive and a pain.
NB - Collect smaller moths - it's cheaper.

4. I am told that specimens can still be degreased after glueing the 
abdomen back on with Elmer's glue, although it will fall off and have to be 
reglued.  But I think I'm out of gumption!


Liz Day
Indianapolis, Indiana, central USA  (40 N, ~86 W)
Home of budgerigar Tweeter and the beautiful pink inchworm (Eupithecia 
USDA zone 5b.  Winters ~20F, summers ~85F.  Formerly temperate deciduous 
daylight at


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