Double mounting with polyporous fungus blocks

Charles Bird cbird at
Thu Apr 13 09:10:21 EDT 2000

Thank you Nick. I have had quite a few responses, most frpm folks who
advocate plastazote. Only one person mentioned that Piptoporus (Polyporus)
betulinus was the source. You are the first to mention where it might be
obtained, also the product Nu Poly, which may well be the best stuff yet. I
just checked and Watkins & Doncaster are online <>. 


At 11:16 AM 13/04/00 +0100, you wrote:
>I still use Polyporus strips (Piptoporus [=Polyporus] betulinus) for all
lthe smaller microleps I mount as I have not run out of stocks I bought
years ago. It was available in the UK from Watkins and Doncaster (The
Naturalists), P.O.Box 5, Cranbrook, Kent, UK  TN18 5EZ, 
>I have prepared my own in the distant past with some success from P.
betulinus collected from dead or dying Birch (Betula pendula) in September
and October. I was told at the time that it has to be carefully prepared by
washing a chemical out of the fungus. This is done by squeezing it (like a
sponge) repeatedly in clean water. If this is not done, I was told, it
would go rock hard when it dried. (I have since been told by Watkins and
Doncaster that this is not necessary!) The 'Polyporus' then needs to be
sliced and spread out to dry. It can then be cut up as required, though the
outer layer of the slices which is most exposed to the air goes hard.
>Watkins and Doncaster now sell a Polyporus substitute called Nu Poly,
which is a dense white foam but denser than Plastozote. They supply it to
the Natural History Museum in London. It costs (UK money) £1.45 per box -
don't know how much is in a box. Sounds a lot better option than preparing
your own!
>Nick Greatorex-Davies
>Mr J Nick Greatorex-Davies
>(Butterfly Monitoring Scheme co-ordinator)
>NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
>Monks Wood
>Abbots Ripton
>Cambridgeshire PE28 2LS  UK
>Tel: (+44) (0) 1487 773 381
>Fax: (+44) (0) 1487 773 467
>E-mail: ngd at
>>>> Charles Bird <cbird at> 11/04/00 15:53:02 >>>
>A number of sources advocate double mounting micro moths with polyporous
>fungus blocks (eg. Covell, Eastern Moths, p 21). More recently, Landry &
>Landry, J. Lep Soc. 48:222 state, "Traditionally, blocks have been cut from
>strips of polypore fungi (especially from birch bracket fungus). Normally
>it is easy to procure polypore strips from naturalist supply houses, but
>periodically they tend to become very difficult to obtain."
>I recently tried cutting strips from freshly collected specimens of Fomes
>fomentarius [Tinder Conk] from birch and from Phellinus tremulae (Fomes
>igniarius) [False Tinder Conk] from trembling aspen but found both to be
>too hard. Perhaps these are the wrong species or I should have collected
>them at another time of the year. Ideas anyone?
>Landry & Landry (p. 223) recommend against using blocks made from balsa,
>cork, and polystyrene foam (styrofoam) as they are either too hard or are
>not rubbery enough to firmly hold a minuten pin. They further state that
>the durability of blocks made from a silicon rubber compound is uncertain.
>Schauff, Collecting and Preserving Insects and Mites (p. 32), however,
>appears to feel that silicone rubber blocks are OK.
>I notice that the latest Bioquip catalog (p. 33) lists only inert silicon
>rubber and plastazote double mount strips. Is there still a source of
>supply for polyporous fungus blocks?
>It would appear from the above that polyporous blocks are the traditional
>favorite but that plastazote blocks may be the current favorite. Your views
>would be appreciated.

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