Relaxing papered leps

Kenelm Philip fnkwp at
Mon Aug 18 22:55:11 EDT 1997

	Leino Oli inquired about this topic. I posted a description of my
methods earlier this year--here's a summary:

I use an 18x12 inch Pyrex baking dish about 3 inches deep. A piece of 1/4"
plate glass forms the lid, and a homemade gasket of bathtub calk keeps
the moisture from escaping.

In the bottom of the Pyrex dish is a layer of sand. Sitting on the sand
is a rectangular open wooden frame (3/4" thick) across which is stretched
fiberglass screen. The sand is saturated with water. Some PDB is placed
on the sand to retard mold.

I place the specimens in their glassine envelopes in the relaxer overnight,
and in the morning take them out of the envelopes and place them on top
of their envelopes (which have the data). Small to average species are
ready to spread the next evening--larger ones are usally ready the morn-
ing after that.

The point of all this is to increase the surface area of the water with
respect to the surface area of the butterflies. That leads to rapid re-
laxing, which means less chance of mold, etc.

							Ken Philip
fnkwp at

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