Black Bug 005

Black Bug 005

American Oil Beetle
@DubiaW That's actually pretty interesting. I've never seen a dead one and I don't pin insects, so it never even crossed my mind that they'd actually shrivel up. I guess to me, they look so bulky and tank-like that I didn't even consider that that could happen
@PidderPeets Pinning is a pretty fun hobby. I used to do it when I worked too much to keep live specimens. Dragonflys and beetles are my favorite because they keep so well and there are so many varieties.
@DubiaW I've never been one for pinning, but I'm considering it to save two of my cecropia moths that I raised for the first time. I can see how people would like it for all types of other insects though
@DubiaW "I guess it needs to be hollowed out and blown up with air before being dried out."

Cotton wool or tisssue paper are ussually used do fill them (I have even read about filling them with silicone). :)
I haven't tried doing that yet. I ran across the technique while reading about centipedes. It's how museums preserve them. Let me know if you do it and how it turns out. Dr. Randy Powell is doing a gel silicone version of this for chordates that is working out well. Never take that guy a specimen unless you intend for him to pickle it or preserve it. That's his thing.
There is another technique called plastination that has been used for preservation of dissected humans It was the basis of the Deutsche horror film "Anatomy." Dr. Powell is doing adapted silicon preservation that leaves specimens slightly rubbery. He focuses on reptiles and amphibians but he has a lot of other work too. Gunther Van Hagens developed plastination, he is an artist of sorts, that focuses on preserving humans and large animals. People donate their bodies to him to be made into museum art exhibits that tour the world. Here is his web site

@DubiaW Thank You very much for all this information and for that contact, his works look amazing. I think that my friends doing vertebrates may find that quite interesting.
Randy Powell described his specimens as feeling a little like rubber snakes. Another method of preservation is to flash freeze a specimen in liquid nitrogen and then "liophilize" it (freeze dry it) in a vacuum. This is commonly used on bats. There are farm raised "dried" Scolopendra subspinipes mutilans sold for use as folk medicine from Asia that appear to be liophilized. All of their appendages are removed or fall off before sales. I'm not sure if that is intentional or a result of the process. It might be a useful way to preserve inverts but I'm sure they would have to be pinned and positioned before freezing. When I had access to a liophilizer I wanted to do this to a dead bat that I found. I didn't have a large enough vacuum bell for it and ended up with a frozen bat. This just so happens to be the most common way of preserving venom. Someone with a small liophilizer and a vat of liquid nitrogen could set up a low overhead venom sales operation or a side business selling mice frozen in embarrassing poses. DYI "Dinner for Shmucks."

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