Submitted to: Entomological News
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 18, 2011
Publication Date: September 28, 2011
Citation: Gates, M.W., Buffington, M.L. 2011. Description of two techniques to increase efficiency in processing and curating minute arthropods, with special reference to parasitic Hymenoptera. Entomological News. 22:133-140.
Interpretive Summary: Participation in biodiversity studies of insects can generate hundreds of thousands of specimens annually that must be properly curated, that is prepared and identified, and deposited in a collection. Parasitic wasps so collected are in alcohol and must be dried and held prior to curation. Two new techniques increase efficiency and ease of curation: 1) temporary specimen storage in clear plastic boxes which enables researchers to easily examine “in process” materials, and 2) use of a vacuum pump and funnel with filter paper to rapidly dry specimens. These techniques will be useful to scientists, museum curators, and their technical staff.
We describe and illustrate two techniques for enhancing curatorial and processing efficiency as it pertains to parasitic Hymenoptera (Chalcidoidea, Cynipoidea). These techniques were developed in response not only to the massive number of parasitoids that have been acquired through our and others’ biodiversity studies, but also the difficulty in mobilizing the human resources to curate this material. The first technique uses small, crystal polystyrene boxes with tight-fitting lids to store dehydrated specimens prior to mounting. Locality information is affixed to the box and specimens are spread in a layer fror ease of examination by visitors. Solutions for managing static electricity within the specimen boxes are discussed. The second involves a vacuum pump connected to a funnel with a filtration membrane and flask apparatus to rapidly dehydrate hard-bodied parasitoids (Figitidae) that are not subject to collapse during air drying.