Saturday, June 26, 2010

Preserving Butterfly and Moth Caterpillars

"I am working with a 4-H Entomology group and wondered about the current best method for preserving butterfly or moth caterpillers to exhibit in a collection. Do you know anything about that?"

A researcher wrote recently about some unusual caterpillars I was raising.  When I have extras, I will send him some for his studies and records.  He wrote, "Drop the larva into water just poured from a boiling kettle into a petri dish (jar lid). It will clench then relax elongated dead and fixed. Don’t let it sit in the water but put it into a screw cap vial of rubbing alcohol.”

I haven't tried it yet but he uses this method when he has reason to preserve a caterpillar.

Dark Form American Snout Caterpillar

1 comment:

  1. The best-preserved caterpillars I have ever seen were freeze-dried. My entomology prof in college had a vacuum-assisted contraption for freeze-drying, and this kept the colors bright which most liquid preservation techniques I have seen will not. You'd probably have to find somewhere to borrow the use of one as I think they're pretty expensive.