relaxing pointers -- injection

Eric or Pat Metzler spruance at
Tue May 19 16:55:35 EDT 1998

Injecting works well, with some cautions.

BTW, I use this for moths from large sphingids to smaller noctuids.

Warm the water.

Use the needle with specimens that were in the relaxer for a least a few
hours, otherwise handling the specimens will break legs etc.

Only inject in the thorax.  Water in the abdomen will soak the scales
and discolor the specimen.

Do not use so much water that it 'leaks' into the abdomen.

Inject from the ventral side.  Some water will 'leak' out of the hole
made by the needle, and moistened scales on the top of the thorax are
often discolored.

I inject into both the meso and meta thorax.  Sometimes the internal
sclerites will prevent water from moving freely, and the bases of both
sets of wings need to be hydrated.

Use as small a needle as possible.  Insulin syringes and needles
(available at drug stores) are about right.  You can't get too much
water in the specimen, and the needles are small.

After injecting, place the specimen back in the relaxer, bit not too
long.  Experience will be a teacher - practice on less desireable
specimens first.

Good luck,

Eric Metzler
Columbus OH

Bruce Walsh wrote:
> Years ago when I was an undergraduate working at the Entomology
> Museum at the University of California at Davis, our head curator used to
> relax specimens by using a small needle and inject them with distilled
> water.  To my great surprise, this works great!.  I often use this technique
> after first using the standard relaxing jar to soften things up a bit.
> It makes a huge difference on those very stubborn individuals that just
> won't relax completely.
> Bruce Walsh
> Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
> University of Arizona
> Tucson,  AZ  85721  USA
> Office:  520 621-1915
> Fax (Departmental)  520 621 9190
> home page:
> Book page:

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