Well-Nigh Wordless Wednesday: Spreading Dragonflies

Part of what I love about insect collections is the look of all the insects crammed together inside a fancy box.  Over time, I came to realize that I prefer for my specimens to be as lifelike as possible, so this is a common sight at my home:

dragonfly spreading

Dragonflies on spreading board

Most dragonfly collections consist of envelopes containing dragonflies with their wings folded up over their backs so they take up as little space as possible.  I want to be able to SEE my dragonflies, remember what they looked like when they were alive, so I pin and spread mine instead and let them take as much space as they want.  Yep, I’m a rebel.  :)

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6 thoughts on “Well-Nigh Wordless Wednesday: Spreading Dragonflies

  1. You’re preaching to the converted, sister. My beetles usually have eleventy-million pins around them while drying, in order to get them -just- so..,

    • I used to pin my bugs rather haphazardly but now I think it’s worth the time to make them look nice if I’m going to put them in my collection. I want to SEE my bugs, not pack them into the boxes as tightly as possible. On the other hand, I am not a taxonomist so I really only collect for myself and don’t have tons of specimens. Makes it easier to spread everything out!

  2. I agree odontates look wonderful spread out and pinned, but when you have thousands of them, no one really has that sort of time! My advisor collects hundreds (perhaps thousands?) of individuals from Ecuador each year for a project he’s working on. The latest expedition was in January, and they are almost done being labeled.

    With leps, though, there isn’t much of a choice – you’ve got to pin them (I have a few in alcohol to use for DNA, but otherwise… to the spreading board they go). I enjoy it, but I’m kind of jealous of those tough dragonfly wings. I rip so many moth wings even with 00 pins.

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