Wednesday, April 30, 2008


volume 10 number1-2 November2005

A journal published by the Centre for Insect Systematics, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia in collaboration with Departments on Museums Malaysia, Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage, Malaysia

Published in Malaysia by
Centre for Insect Systematics
(Pusat Sistematik Serangga)
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia
43600 Bangi, Selangor Darul Ehsan,

Friday, April 4, 2008

Positive and Negative of Insects


Agriculture: biocontrol, pollination
e.g. parasitoid wasps, predators, honey bees, solitary bees

Medicine: antibiotics, chronic disease treatment, maggot
debridement, apitherapy
e.g. honey bee venom, maggots

Commerce: products, cochineal, silk, wax, honey
e.g. scale insects, silk moth, honey bees

Science: research subjects: genetics, ecology, physiology, behavior
e.g. vinegar “fruit” flies, tobacco hornworm, honey bees

Aesthetics: art & inspiration
e.g. butterflies, beetles, fireflies

Food: nutrition, environmental& economic sustainability
e.g. 500 species, 17 families, especially grubs & caterpillars


Agriculture: competition for food & fiber
e.g. apple maggot, bark beetles

Domestic: damage to property & goods
e.g. termites, silverfish,

Medicine: parasites & disease
e.g. malaria, J.E,Aedes, screw worm fly

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Specimens in Vials and Labeling Vials

Specimens in Vials.

The following procedures are recommended for shipping vials:

  1. Fill each vial with liquid preservative. Stopper tightly by holding a pin or piece of wire between the vial and the stopper to permit air or excess fluid to escape, then remove the pin or wire. Make certain that cork stoppers do not have defects that will allow leakage. Screw-top vials should be firmly closed and sealed with a turn and a half of plastic adhesive tape or Parafilm around the lower edge of the cap and part of the vial.
  2. Wrap each vial with cotton, tissue, paper toweling, or similar material. Allow no piece of glass to come into contact with another piece of glass. Several vials may be wrapped together or held with tape or rubberbands as a unit, or they may be placed in a small cardboard box with enough packing to insure that they are not shaken around

Labeling Vials

Material in fluid should be accompanied by a single label large enough to include all data. The label should be written with a moderately soft lead pencil or in India ink and well dried so that it will not dissolve or run when immersed in the liquid. Do not use a ballpoint or felt-tip pen. Hard lead pencil writing becomes illegible in liquid. Do not fold the label. Small specimens may be damaged or lost when the label is removed. Multiple labels or labels small enough to float around in the vial may also damage specimens, and when two labels lie face, they cannot be read. Always place labels inside the vial as there is the danger that if left outside a vial, regardless of the method or substance used to affix them, they may become defaced, destroyed, or detached.

Insect Storage Box

Insect Box

Insect Storage Boxes in varying shapes and sizes are most commonly used in biology laboratories for storing different insects. Since dead insects are very delicate, it is important to store them carefully, in order to make them last for years.

Types of Insect Storage Box
There are various boxes available for storing insects, made from different materials and having different size, some of the popularly used boxes are:
  • Schmitt Box: This box provides an economical solution for storing pinned specimens. The box makes use of polyethylene foam for standard protection.
  • Riker Mounts: This box does not use the pinning method for storage, these are provided with cotton backing and a glass top for storing insects on the soft cotton base.
  • Cigar Box: These are corrugated cardboard boxes, suitable for short term use and do not provide much protection.

These boxes are a cost effective option for storing and displaying insect collection. The boxes are specially designed with pinning base to protect mounted specimens. The pinning base is generally made of polyethylene foam. These boxes are airtight, for providing security and protection from moths and other pests and insects.

Use of Insect Storage Box
  • Biology Laboratory
  • Museums
  • Educational Laboratory

Liquid Killing Agents

Ethyl Acetate

Among the liquid killing agents are ethyl acetate (CH3Co2.C2H5), ether (diethyl ether, C2H5.o.C2H5), chloroform (CHCI3), and ammonia water(NH4OH solution). Ethyl acetate is most widely used. All of these chemicals are extremely volatile and flammable and should never be used near fire. Children should only use them under adult supervision.

Ethyl acetate is regarded by many as the most satisfactory liquid killing agent. Its fumes are less toxic to humans than those of other substances. Although it usually stuns insects quickly, it kills them slowly.

Spreading Board for Lepidoptera

A typical spreading board for Lepidoptera

All insects preserved with the wings spread uniformly are set and dried in this position on spreading boards or blocks; spreading boards are more commonly used than spreading blocks. Although such pinning aids vary greatly in design, the same basic principle is inherent in all, that is, a smooth surface on which the wings are spread and positioned horizontally; a central, longitudinal groove for the body of the insect; and a layer of soft material into which the pin bearing the insect is inserted to hold the specimen at the proper height. An active collector will need from several to many spreading boards because the insects must dry for a considerable time (about 2 weeks for large specimens, one week for small ones) before being removed from the boards

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Collecting Nets

Collecting nets come in three basic forms: Aerial, sweeping, and aquatic. The first is designed especially for collecting butterflies and other flying insects. Both the bag and handle are relatively lightweight. The sweeping net is similar to the aerial net but is stronger and has a more durable bag to withstand being dragged through dense vegetation. Aquatic nets are used for gathering insects from water and are usually made of metal screening or heavy scrim with a canvas band affixed to a metal rim. A metal handle is advisable because wooden ones may deteriorate after repeated wetting. The net you choose depends on the kind of insects or mites you wish to collect.


M.E.Schauff. Collecting and Preserving Insects and Mites, Techniques and Tools, , Systematic Entomology Laboratory, USDA, National Museum of Natural History, NHB 6. 2007

video-Cicada Molting