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I have begun to display some of my soft bodied insects and as I am trying to rehydrate some of them that were plump in the abdomen, they appear to have shrunk and the bodies have sunk into themselves. Does anyone know how to avoid this or what can be done to plump the bodies back up?

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  • $\begingroup$ using a serynge of silicone? $\endgroup$ – com.prehensible Dec 13 '17 at 3:15
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"Soft bodied" can come from a number of conditions, but generally, soft bodied insects are kept in ethanol. Adult insects should not need any kind of treatment before being pinned. Nymphs and immature insects should be in ethanol, and I suspect this is what you have. However, they can be freeze dried for a nice effect. One technique that works for females that are full of fatty eggs (such as Orthoptera) is to make an incision on the ventral side with an exacto-knife, and scrape out the contents of the abdomen. Then stuff with cotton, and close the incision. I think you likely have immatures, which should be in ethanol, but this technique would work if you are careful.

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  • $\begingroup$ Sorry, I may have not fully explained what I am trying to do. I have just re-hydrated, pinned and dry mounted some rather large bodied insects (spiders and soft bodied leaf cutters and the like) and their abdomens are beginning to dehydrate. I believe I had seen that you could inject them with something (not sure what) and it would dry and keep the body in shape. I was hoping for some suggestions. Nothing like a caved in body to show your friends! $\endgroup$ – Jenni B Dec 14 '17 at 4:49
  • $\begingroup$ Also, I have tried Purell for a few black widows that I got as a gift, but they are starting to look as if they are fuzzy. I do not normally use ethanol, is there another suggestion of something readily available. Thank you again... Jenn B $\endgroup$ – Jenni B Dec 14 '17 at 4:49
  • $\begingroup$ I guess if I were you, and did not have access to a freeze drier, than I would use trial and error. Try injecting different things on some common spiders you don't care about. Like silicone (as suggested above), or even Elmer's glue. $\endgroup$ – Karl Kjer Dec 14 '17 at 4:54

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