1/. Place one of your dried dragonflies
in a container with an inch (2.5cm) of WHITE VINEGAR (do not use brown vinegar) and lay a glass slide over it to hold it under the liquid.
2/. Allow 1 to 2 hours soaking in the vinegar.
This will depend on the size of the specimen, some very large specimens may
require longer. But be careful, DO NOT LEAVE IN THE VINEGAR ANY LONGER THAN IT NEEDS TO SOFTEN
OR IT MAY DISINTEGRATE. Obviously you will soon learn how long for different sized
3/. Remove the specimen and
squeeze the thorax, the wings should open easily when it is fully
relaxed. If the wings do not open easily, place it back in the
container for a while longer. Until you are used to it, this process will
require constant attention.
4/. Once the wings open with a good squeeze to
the thorax, place your fingers over the base of them from the top, and move them
down so that they close over the tops of the legs. This will stretch and loosen
the internal muscles ready for setting.
5/. Now you are ready to spread your specimen
on a setting board. Unlike Lepidoptera you are going to set your dragonfly upside
down on your setting board (A flay piece of balsa wood is good or foam is OK). Insert
the entomological pin in between the legs from the underside, and pin the
specimen to the board upside down. Spread the wings into the desired
position, and hold them in place with paper strips and pins. When you have done,
you will probably notice that the insects legs are all over the place. You
can now move them into a nice neat position, and hold them in place by cross
6/. Place the pinning board with the attached
specimen into your freezer for 4-48 hours depending on size. This will
effectively freeze dry your specimen ready for the next step. Or you can dry the
specimen as you would normally do for other insects, in the drying cabinet.
7/. Remove your specimen from the freezer (or
drier), and remove all the paper and pins. You will notice that the colours of
your insect are quite dull, we can fix this easily. Get yourself a glass container with a tight fitting lid, that the insect will
easily fit in horizontally. Now fill the container with enough ACETONE to
completely cover the insect. Acetone is very volatile, so you do need
an airtight container. If the container doesn't seal properly the acetone will
evaporate off very quickly. Now place your specimen in the container, making
sure it is completely submerged, if it wants
to float, gently place a glass slide over it to keep it submerged. Now seal
the container tightly and leave for 12 hours or so.
8/. Gently remove your dragonfly from the
container (after taking off the glass slides) and place it on several
layers of tissue and allow to dry. As the acetone evaporates you will start to
see the living colours of the insect start to come back. With some large, or very greasy and dull specimens, you may have
to repeat this process several times. But it is well worth the effort.
9/. Your specimen is now ready to add
to your collection.