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How to Preserve Insects
preserve insects

The next step after collecting insects is to preserve them permanently for future display and study. Insect larvae and soft-bodied and extremely tiny specimens are preserved in liquids. Isopropyl alcohol (70 percent) or equivalent is best. All others are preserved on specially designed insect pins. Large insects are mounted directly on pins, while those too small to be placed on pins are mounted on card points (Figure 14).

The wings of butterflies, moths, and dragonflies are spread to make the specimens more attractive and to aid in identification. All other insects should be dried with legs and antennae adjusted in the most lifelike manner possible.

pinning insects

Figure 14

Purdue Extension Entomology, 901 West State Street, West Lafayette, IN 47907 USA, (765) 494-4554

Department of Entomology | College of Agriculture | Extension

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