Proof that it’s possible to ship large, pinned beetles safely!

Miscellaneous Buprestidae from Dan Heffern

Miscellaneous Buprestidae from Dan Heffern

Those who have followed this blog for awhile know that I’ve been on a bit of a rant during the past few months about the way pinned insect specimens are packed and shipped. This has been prompted primarily by the receipt of several damaged insect shipments, some of the more egregious examples of which are shown here and on Facebook. In all of these cases, damage could have been prevented had the specimens simply been packed and shipped using standard best practices.

I do not wish, however, to give the impression that every insect shipment I receive is damaged. The photo above represents a shipment I just received from Dan Heffern, who is kindly gifting to me some of the excess Buprestidae that he has in his collection in order to make room for his more beloved Cerambycidae. This shipment was especially prone to damage because of the number of large, heavy-bodied specimens it contains. Nevertheless, it arrived safe and sound because of the attention paid by Dan to securing the specimens in place. Note the liberal use of brace pins around each specimen—the larger the specimen, the more brace pins. In addition, the pinning box features a double-foam layer. Double-foam holds specimens much more securely in place than does a single layer, and while I didn’t mention it in my original post it’s a good idea for shipments containing large, heavy-bodied specimens. One drawback of double-foam is that it pushes labels on the pin up close to the specimen, but re-positioning labels on pins is certainly better than having to reattach broken body parts on specimens!

My thanks to Dan for this fine shipment and for paying such great attention to its packing to ensure receipt in the best condition possible!

© Ted C. MacRae 2014

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About Ted C. MacRae

Ted C. MacRae is a research entomologist by vocation and beetle taxonomist by avocation. Areas of expertise in the latter include worldwide jewel beetles (Buprestidae) and North American longhorned beetles (Cerambycidae). More recent work has focused on North American tiger beetles (Cicindelidae) and their distribution, ecology, and conservation.
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4 Responses to Proof that it’s possible to ship large, pinned beetles safely!

  1. tatesfashion says:

    So happy to find a blog about bugs. I find entomology really interesting. My blog is mainly about social activism, fashion and cosmetics so I’m not sure if you’d be interested in that but I would like to ask – how do you feel about carmine being an ingredient in a lot of make-up products?

    • I presume you mean the use of carmine extracted from scale insects for use as a red coloring agent. Can you be more specific about what you are asking? It’s like asking “How do you feel silk being used for clothing?”

  2. James C. Trager says:

    The first shipment of insects I ever mailed, as a callow undergraduate, included a mothball that escaped and did a bit of damage. Never did that again!

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