Recently I’ve been gaining some experience in pinning and setting insects from the Entomology collection.
I was given specimens stored in ethanol which had been collected between May & July earlier this year, from different provinces in Vietnam. The specimens collected are mostly stick insects (Phasmatodea).
Phil, the Curatorial Assistant in Entomology, demonstrated the technique he used to pin specimens and the procedure used to extend the wings of those that had them, using vellum paper to set them.
The procedure is simple enough, using a pin through the thorax of the specimen, just behind the second pair of legs. The front legs and antennae are then set forwards, using crossed pins to hold them in place, with the 2nd and 3rd pairs being set backwards, again being held in place with pins. Specimens with wings require one (normally the right) to be gently unfurled, before placing strips of vellum paper over them, using pins to hold that in place.
The specimens are now being left to dry over the weekend, before collection labels and accession numbers being added early next week.
I found this to be an enjoyable task and it’s something I’ve wanted to gain experience of whilst working in the Entomology department, but it did have it’s moments of being pretty tricky when dealing with fragile legs and antennae of some of the more delicate specimens!