Insect Collection Internship: Sorting, Specimen Preparation & Care

2012 High School Summer Internship

Project Description: The intern will prepare beetle and some other insect specimens (now stored in alcohol) for incorporation into the main pinned collection. These are important reference vouchers for specimens stored in liquid nitrogen tanks for future extraction of their DNA (or, in some cases, specimens whose legs were removed to that storage). The work consists of pinning or point-mounting (depending on size), labeling, and sorting the specimens by family, and includes some common and many rare species from around the world. Training will include how to handle pinned insect specimens; how to pin, point-mount, and label pinned specimens; and general training in insect classification and collection management practices. This intern must be very attentive to detail and have excellent coordination to handle small delicate objects, working partly under a microscope, in order to prepare the specimens according to museum curatorial standards and ensure that labeling is done accurately. If this specific project is completed before the end of the internship, additional specimens will be provided for mounting and labeling, or other collection-care projects will be added. Depending on the scheduling of ongoing renovation activities in Insects, the intern might also spend some time helping Insects staff move drawers of the pinned collection into new collection cabinets—this will provide a glimpse of even broader insect diversity.

Project Leader: Dr. Margaret Thayer (Associate Curator)