INSECT COLLECTION – Pre-AP BIOLOGY
Assignment: Students will collect 40 different species of insects from at least 10 different Orders. Each specimen must be correctly pinned and have complete labels. Students must also turn in a complete listing of their collection arranged by Orders and corresponding to their collection.
Due Date: All collections will be due on November 2. While this may seem a long time from now, students should begin collecting now because when the weather cools insects become much more difficult to find. Students may turn in collections early (I encourage this) if they complete their project.
Organization: Insects will be pinned according to standard pinning procedures that will be demonstrated by your teacher and illustrated on handouts. Insects should be pinned at a uniform distance from the top of the pin – leave enough room so that the insect can be picked-up without touching the insect. Each insect pin will have two labels: an identification tag and a locality tag. These tags must be placed below the insect on the pin with the identification tag above the locality tag. Tags must be filled in completely and be the correct size. Tags should be written in black ink ( you must use a very fine point pen). It is easiest to fill out the tags before you cut them out. Tags will be pinned toward their left end and extend to the right of the insect.
Collections should be arranged in a box with a top and with styrofoam in the bottom. You should also have some moth balls/flakes in your box to keep out living insects – be sure to anchor the moth balls in some way. The insects of each Order should be place together in the box.
Be sure to read all handouts and follow directions carefully. Insects which are improperly pinned or labeled will not be counted for points.
Collecting insects: Insects are everywhere and can be collected at any time or place. We will designate a couple of days when students may come in after school for assistance in making a “professional” killing jar. To make one you must have a glass jar with a wide mouth. It is usually good to have at least two killing jars with you when you go out to collect. We will put plaster of Paris in the jar and then saturate it with a killing solution. Until then you can make your own killing jar by using some gauze or cotton which is saturated with fingernail polish remover. Spraying insects with killing sprays is not the best idea!
When collecting butterflies the best way t o kill them is to squeeze them tightly in the thorax for several minutes. Their wings should be closed while you do this. The wings of the butterfly should be spread as demonstrated in class.
It is best to pin insects as soon as possible after they die. If you wait, the insects may become brittle and break when you attempt to pin them. See previous page for correct pin procedures for common Orders.