Dissecting dried specimens

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Dissecting dried specimens

Postby Alex » 01 Oct 2012 23:06

Short question, but no simple one:

How to best dissect and prepare ovipositors from dried museum specimens?

I have found when dissecting dry mounted museum material that even after days of softening with pure water that the soft tissues are in good condition, but the sclerites are often still brittle and delicate, making it hard to dissect apart the ovipositor "package", especially of smaller species.
Any advice on how to make the sclerites more elastic and malleable so it is easier to separate and mount them?

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Re: Dissecting dried specimens

Postby Euchroeus » 02 Oct 2012 12:07

Hi Alex,

I understand your problem. I don't know any secret.

Sometimes it's quite easy to dismantle the interal urites, even if you always break some parts.
In other cases is almost impossible. I think that the reason is related to the food that the Chrysis have eaten before it was collected. For example, I found some Chrysis of the ignita group eating resin from Pinus plants. In the case of old specimens of ignita with resin inside there's no way to open the urites. If the specimen was collected when recently born, it's more easy.

Let wait for some suggestions.
Paolo Rosa - www.chrysis.net
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