We use Borax, less than $5 for  small container, for positioning specimens in ethanol.  It’s not affected by alcohol and makes a nice white background as shown in this photo of the adult of a Bermuda stem maggot.

Richard L. Brown
Director, Mississippi Entomological Museum
Mississippi State, MS 39762
PH:  662-325-2990

From: Entomological Collections Network Listserve <[log in to unmask]> on behalf of Vinicius Ferreira <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To: Vinicius Ferreira <[log in to unmask]>
Date: Wednesday, November 6, 2019 at 3:14 PM
To: "[log in to unmask]" <[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Re: [EXTERNAL] Re: Protocols for ethanol photography

I use KY lubricant to stabilize the specimen, and dH2O to deal with refractions. Let it sit for a while before taking the photos!

Em qua., 6 de nov. de 2019 às 13:47, Droege, Sam <[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>> escreveu:
Here is a summary of what we do with small specimens we wish to photograph

  *   We use hand sanitizer
  *   We drop the purchased hs bottle in a sturdy bag , whirl out most of the bubbles (best done outside...just in case)
  *   We decant the hand sanitizer into a ketchup/mustard type condiment bottle and label appropriately (pours nicely; hs pumps add bubbles)0
  *   Specimens are soaked over night in a petri dish of hs to normalize
  *   We use cuvettes but find the plastic ones are fine ...crystal are expensive.
  *   We half fill cuvette, add specimen, fill remainder position with unfolded paper clip or similar
  *   Note that your photographs will be as detailed as those taken in air but will not appear so because shadows do no show up in alcohol or hs because of the refraction index is much higher (or something like that...can't recall the details)

Brief Reflection on Cats Growing in Trees

When moles still had their annual general meetings
and when they still had better eyesight it befell
that they expressed a wish to discover what was above.
So they elected a commission to ascertain what was above.
The commission dispatched a sharp-sighted fleet-footed
mole. He, having left his native mother earth,
caught sight of a tree with a bird on it.
Thus a theory was put forward that up above
birds grew on trees. However,
some moles thought this was
too simple. So they dispatched another
mole to ascertain if birds did grow on trees.
By then it was evening and on the tree
some cats were mewing. Mewing cats,
the second mole announced, grew on the tree.
Thus an alternative theory emerged about cats.
The two conflicting theories bothered an elderly
neurotic member of the commission. And he
climbed up to see for himself.
By then it was night and all was pitch-black.
Both schools are mistaken, the venerable mole declared.
Birds and cats are optical illusions produced
by the refraction of light. In fact, things above
Were the same as below, only the clay was less dense and
the upper roots of the trees were whispering something,
but only a little.
And that was that.
Ever since the moles have remained below ground:
they do not set up commissions
or presuppose the existence of cats.
Or if so only a little.
- Miroslav Holub

On Wed, Nov 6, 2019 at 3:17 PM Derek Woller <[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>> wrote:
Andy, this seems like the perfect opportunity to ask this - I did some testing years ago on finding the optimal hand sanitizer to use for macro photography purposes. Specifically, I was using it to hold tiny grasshopper genitalia in place while doing focal-stacking work.

The best one I found was Target's Up and Up brand, but even it tended to become cloudy to some degree after a while. So, I'm quite curious to know what your producf preference is, your overall experience (pros/cons), and what taxa/morphology you use it for.


Derek A. Woller, Ph.D.

USDA Supervisory Entomologist, Rangeland Grasshopper and Mormon Cricket Management Team

Phoenix, AZ, U.S.A.

[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>

Check out my wife's neat Etsy store where you can buy all sorts of neat vinyl decals, especially cool insect ones: <>

On Wed, Nov 6, 2019, 12:58 PM Brower, Andrew V - APHIS <[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>> wrote:
Hi Melissa,

Purel or other alcohol-based hand sanitizers work pretty well for embedding the specimen so you can get the angles you want for your photos.


Andrew Brower, Ph.D.
Assistant Director, National Identification Services (NIS)
USDA APHIS PPQ Plant Health Programs
4700 River Rd., Unit 52
Riverdale, MD 20737
Office phone:  (301) 851-2243
Mobile phone: (240) 315-4408

[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>

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From: Entomological Collections Network Listserve [mailto:[log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>] On Behalf Of Sadir, Melissa
Sent: Wednesday, November 6, 2019 2:38 PM
To: [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>
Subject: Protocols for ethanol photography

Hello all,

I am working on a barcoding project and we will be photographing our beetle specimens before sequencing (using a Leica MC 170 microscope camera). Are there any protocols and/or suggestions for obtaining optimal pictures of LBBs in ethanol?



Melissa Sadir
M.S. Graduate Student
Marske Lab
University of Oklahoma
Department of Biology
Norman, OK 73072<>

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How Can you Save the Bees if You Don't Even Know Our Names?
- Bee

Vinicius S. Ferreira, M. Sc.
Montana Entomology Collection (MTEC)
Montana State University, Marsh Labs, Rm 05
1911 W. Lincoln St.
Bozeman, MT 59717
E-mail: [log in to unmask]<mailto:[log in to unmask]>
Phone: (406) 209-5116
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