Born and raised in South Dakota, lived and worked almost 20 years in
southern California, and now living in Berlin. I generally prefer not to respond
to anonymous posts, so, circumstances permitting, please introduce yourself.
Instructions for mailing arachnological specimens for species identification:
(welcomed -- but e-mail me first.)
To preserve spiders, drop them into alcohol. To make things go faster, you
may prefer to prechill the alcohol (or first use an entomological killing jar).
You can use diluted isopropyl (rubbing alcohol) or ethanol (denatured alcohol).
Specimens can be stored (away from bright light) for long periods of time in
alcohol, but it should be diluted to a 65-75% concentration with water; high-proof
drinking alcohol can also be used in a pinch.
Specimens are generally stored and transported in small vials. Before storing
or shipping, the following specimen information should be written in pencil on
a tiny slip of paper and placed into the vial:
- collection date
- collection location (state, county, and/or locality)
- BG image number (number of first habitus image uploaded to BG, if possible)
- any other pertinant information ("under bark", etc.)
Do not use ink (other than India ink), as most inks will bleed in contact with
alcohol and water. More than one specimen in a vial is okay if BG habitus images
New (1 Jan 2011) regulations apply to shipping: Special Provision A180
Essentially it means that small vials (30 ml / 1 oz. or less of alcohol)
should be used. These should be placed in a sealed plastic bag, which should
then be placed in another sealed bag along with some absorbent material (paper
towel, etc.). The final package should be placed in a "strong outer packaging with
suitable cushioning material". The package should be marked "Scientific research
specimens. Not restricted. Special Provision A180 applies."
Packages sent to me in Germany (sorry, this costs a bit more) will require a
green duty declaration from the shipper; they should be marked as "gift",
contents: "dead insects", value: $0
In return I will e-mail you and/or post to BG my determination of the species,
along with additional, microscopic images (time-permitting). Thank you for
contributing to our growing number of "BugGuide voucher specimens".