Light traps, ethel Acetate and greasy specimens

gary gaugler see.signature at
Fri Apr 28 20:38:13 EDT 2000

On 22 Apr 2000 17:04:52 -0700, Leptraps at wrote:

>Kurt Jacob's stated:
>In the case of a collecting light trap, the overexposure of ethyl acetate
>would be nearly impossible to avoid.  My experience tells me that if a
>specimen in a killing jar becomes wet looking with ethyl acetate, it has a
>great chance to remain very dark, once again become very dark due to the
>oils in the moth, have matted out hair, and even sometimes look slightly
>bleached.  Supposedly soaking specimens in acetone for a few hours will
>remove oils, but my tinkering with this technique have shown a reduction in
>brightness of color of the scales on the wings.
>I have used Ethel Acetate for over twenty years in light traps. I have had 
>the typical greasing of specimens in my collection. Some from light traps, 
>and some from a sheet that were killed in cyanide jars. The greasing of 
>specimens is cause by body fats in the specimens. Whenever I degrease 
>specimens, I have use ether, with lit or no effect on the specimens. This 
>includes females of Speyeria diana.
>I am not a salesman for Ethel Acetate, I would prefer to use are more 
>effective chemical and one that is not as flammable. A small spark can start 
>a fire or explosion.  However, Ethel Acetate is available and cost effective 
>for me. I am also very careful when I use it.

I use acetone or amyl acetate to kill, and methanol-acetone-Freon 113
to dehydrate.  Then into a vacuum desicator at 30 microns before
placing in the Pt sputter coater and then into the SEM.  This protocol
seems to work quite well.

For preserving hydrated specimens, I only use amyl acetate.

Gary Gaugler, Ph.D.
Modern surfers use PC can too at

 E-mail: gary at gaugler dot com

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