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Insects Collection

History Archive - Insects Collection

Insects, the most abundant of all animals known by their jointed body, six legs and distinct head, thorax and abdomen. The spiders, which are closely relate d , have eight legs and a united head and thorax. The head carries eyes, antennae or feelers and mouth parts; the thorax consists of three parts carrying the legs and wings; the abdomen has egg depositors, stings etc.

Insects breathe by means of air-tubes which open upon the exterior. The openings are buttonhole-shaped, and are usually situated on the joints of the abdomen. Most insects are hatched from the egg in the torm oi a caterpillar or grub and pass through a series of changes (see CATERPILLAR, MOTH and BUTTERFLY) called the metamorphosis.

In others, like the grasshopper, there is an incomplete metamorphosis, for the egg hatches into a six-legged, Immature insect, resembling the adult in general form, but without wings. These grow and moult, and gradually develop wings, but ac no time do they pass into a cocoon or pupa stage. Insects are easily preserved, and a cabinet or collection can be begun with a very simple outfit. There are required a net; a collecting bottle; pins; and a box for holding the collection.

They may be killed with benzine, chloroform etc., but, for all except butterflies, a collecting bottle is more convenient. Provide a wide-mouthed bottle with a good cork that fits tightly; in the bottom put an ounce of potassium cyanide broken into lumps no larger than a filbert; add sawdust somewhat more than to cover the largest lumps; then pour in a quarter of an inch layer of plaster of paris mixed to the consistency of thick cream. The bottle should be kept tightly corked and great care taken not to breathe the fumes of the cyanide, which are very poisonous.

Insects put into the bottle are killed almost instantly by the fumes coming through the plaster and saturating the air. Care should be taken in the spreading of the insect; while still flexible the various parts — wings, legs etc.— should be arranged as it is desired they should appear when dry. Insect-pins or fine needles mounted on match-sticks are needed for this, and nothing else save some cards or thin boards — grape-basket covers or cigar-box wood. The natural position of the insect should be studied and attempted. Dust-proof boxes are made for holding insects and especial pins manufactured, but common pins and a shallow cigar-box will do for the beginner. Pieces of cork can be glued to the bottom and pins inserted in the cork.


The New Student's Reference Work (1914) pp. 928-930.

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