Collecting and preserving phasmids



PhasmidenkastenNumerous books and articles discuss the preservation and collecting techniques of insects and most concern to special methods for certain orders of insects. Some publications provide information on preserving Orthoptera, but none offer useful advice on phasmids. Due to their soft bodies, large size, body mass and often bright colours the Phasmatodea present a number of problems. The large size makes the insects dry very slow and the softness means that just little rotting can make parts of the body become black. For scientific material it is generally not advisable to eviscerate and stuff the specimens with cotton-wool, as this can (if no care is taken) destroy the inner pigmentation and difficulties arise in reconstructing the original body shape. Furthermore, it destroys features which might be of importance for future examination of the internal morphology. Nevertheless, it is the best method to preserve bright colours but should only be used for display specimens or duplicates in scientific collections, which are meant to show the original colouration of the live insects. Most techniques with chemical solutions strongly fade colours and turn green and red into bright yellow or pale brown.
The following discusses the advantages and disadvantages of different preservation methods, which have been tried by us. For the packing and conservation techniques best used in the field and on expeditions, particular attentions was drawn on keeping the expenses of time, weight and and space to a minimum.