Starting a collection - Coleoptera
How to - Manipulating legs and antennae
 
The following is the most important part of the relaxing and setting process for beetles, moving the legs, head and antennae, to make sure they are nice and supple and easy to move, is VERY IMPORTANT. If you get these steps right it will make the final setting of the specimen on the foam board really easy. If you get disturbed at any time, just remember to place your specimen back in the relaxer, so that it doesn't start to dry out while you are away. 
Moving Hind Leg
After you think your specimen has had enough time in the relaxer, take it out and try moving a couple of the legs. If the specimen is ready they should move quite easily. If not place them back into the relaxer for another 12 to 24 hours.
Stretching hind leg
With large specimens, you can easily use your fingers to move the legs. However it is a good idea to start practising using your tweezers. Use a good strong pair of tweezers to grip large legs and small fine tweezers for small legs and antennae. Grip the leg tightly and pull down, this will stretch the muscles inside the leg. Work the leg up and down as though you are bending your elbow.
Moving Middle Leg
Sometimes you will hear or feel the muscles give way. Don't worry about this. Work all the back and middle legs until they move nice and easily. The better job you do here the easier it will be to set your specimen at the end.
Moving Front Leg at the Elbow
The front legs require a little more effort as you have to make sure that two joints are very easy to move. 1/. Elbow Joint: Move the leg back and forth to free the elbow joint.
Moving front leg at shoulder joint
2/. Shoulder Joint: This joint is very important as it is also a revolving joint. Not only do you have to make sure that it moves up and down, You also have to make sure that it revolves freely at the base. If you do not do this, you won't be able to move the leg forwards when you try to set it. You may have to grab the joint at the very base with tweezers to free this up. Once you have managed it once you will then know how to move this joint on all beetles.
Moving Antennae Moving Antennae
Don't forget to move the antennae back and forth so that they are nice and free as well. There is nothing worse than setting your beetle out nice and neatly, and then finding that you haven't freed up the antennae. It can be quite difficult to get at them from above later on.

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