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DonaldJ

Preserving dead specimens?

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When my B. Orientalis finally die of old age I'd like to preserve them for further study, mostly via photography.

What are the best practices for such a process?

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I think pinning them would be the best

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I think pinning them would be the best

I want to be able to pose and position them without any body parts breaking off. Is there some kind of "magic juice" that will allow it?

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If you're unable to pin and position them freshly dead and before they've turned dry and brittle, you can put them into a closed container with some paper towel that's been moistened with water and a little detergent and place them in the refrigerator for a day or two. This will rehydrate them a bit and make it possible to manipulate their limbs without snapping their joints. Don't leave them too long or they may get moldy or start falling apart with decay. Don't be surprised if it smells less than appealing if the roach had died and gone through a bit of decomposition before drying.

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How would one preserve a large adult hisser, for example?

I removed my male hisser the same day he died and put him in the freezer for bariel in the spring (I know I'm strange for having roach funerals, but hey).  But now I'm wondering if preserving him might be better.  What would be really cool is if I could somehow encase him in something to protect him and make him into a pendant.  Or is that too gross?

Thoughts?

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On 2/15/2017 at 2:02 AM, Crazy Bug Lady said:

How would one preserve a large adult hisser, for example?

I removed my male hisser the same day he died and put him in the freezer for bariel in the spring (I know I'm strange for having roach funerals, but hey).  But now I'm wondering if preserving him might be better.  What would be really cool is if I could somehow encase him in something to protect him and make him into a pendant.  Or is that too gross?

Thoughts?

http://www.instructables.com/id/Preserve-Insects-In-Resin/

 

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6 hours ago, KatsKreations said:

I'm also definitely considering preserving my adult male G.oblongonota(my first roach) in resin when he passes away, thanks for providing that link!

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Word of warning, resin is a pain to work with until you get a good amount of experience. It's fun to mess with and if you get it right, you'll have a really nice display piece. Problems you may run into though, are:

Heat may cause discoloration (probably less of an issue with darker species). The resin shown in the link produces a fair amount of heat.

Bubbles. Oh my god, the freaking bubbles. The only reason the best pieces I have look great is because my lab went through a full experimental regimen with resin (for embedding amber with insects in it) and found that after mixing (before adding the specimen), putting the resin in a vacuum chamber dramatically reduces the amount of bubbles. A second vacuum chamber session is necessary after adding the specimen to remove the air that gets trapped underneath it. Even with this, it still takes quite a bit of fine work with a pin to remove the remaining bubbles and there's still no guarantee you'll get them all.

Rotting specimen(?). The only large inverts I've embedded have been tarantulas, and I removed the guts and stuffed them with cotton beforehand to make sure nothing rotted. I want to experiment with a lubber grasshopper at some point to see if meaty inverts will rot after embedding or if the heat and chemicals from the resin kill everything. Personally, I'd recommend removing the innards and stuffing it with cotton just to be safe. 

Resin can get expensive fast. Even the cheaper stuff they sell at Walmart or Hobby Lobby. It's not super high grade stuff like what we embed amber in (you want to talk about expensive...), but for just a hobby, it works really well. 

There are some resins that cure using UV light instead. I haven't really messed with those much, but the limited experimenting I did showed they could work well. 

I'd listen to the directions on the can rather than what they're saying in that link...there are a few things that don't quite sound right in their instructions. 

 

Honestly, I'd recommend just pinning your roach after it dies or maybe spreading it into a position you like and letting it dry before putting it in a Riker mount or shadow box for display. I certainly don't want to dissuade someone from trying out resin, but those are just some observations I've had having worked with it on and off over the past year and a half. 

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