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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Norden, Beth
item Webb, Ralph
item Mccardle, Patrick
item White, Geoffrey

Submitted to: Journal of Kansas Entomological Society
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/28/2004
Publication Date: 4/1/2005
Citation: Norden, B.B., Webb, R.E., Mccardle, P.W., White, G.B. 2005. A new fixing technique using rice vinegar prior to mosquito dissection.. Journal of Kansas Entomological Society. 78:189-191.

Interpretive Summary: Currently recommended fixative techniques are ineffective for allowing good dissection of reproductive structures in the soft, flexible, and often fluid-filled abdomens of mosquitoes. As part of our studies on mosquito trapping systems, dissection was needed to identify parous females by examining ovary dilation. Rice vinegar was serendipitously discovered to be an excellent fixing solution. Use of rice vinegar provides taxonomists dealing with soft-bodied insects with an inexpensive, easily available, and effective fixative that can replace fixatives having strong odors and carcinogenic chemicals.

Technical Abstract: We found a new fixative, rice vinegar, that allowed us to more effectively dissect mosquitoes to determine parity. We found that rice vinegar preserved, relaxed, and replaced the often high water/nectar content of mosquito guts. Our technique was to stun the newly-trapped live mosquitoes with CO2, place them in vials containing 4.3% acidity Japanese rice vinegar, then refrigerate the material until dissection. Using this technique, we found that parity was low at the beginning of the season, but increased steadily as the summer progressed, ending quite high in all sub-samples of traps and species.

Last Modified: 06/27/2017
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