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Thysanoptera Californica

Collecting and preparing thrips


Body contents are removed by soaking specimens in a weak NaOH solution (never more than 5%) for an appropriate period-the strength of the solution and the length of the treatment being determined by experiment. Ideally, use very weak NaOH solution (2%) overnight (for black specimens much longer), at room temperature; avoid heating, as it causes damage to setae and the body surface.

  1. Place up to 20 thrips into clean water in a glass staining block. Try to make some specimens float with their wings on the surface. Leave for 1 hour.
  2. Add to the water an equal volume of 5% NaOH solution and leave overnight (for black specimens as long as necessary).
  3. Transfer the specimens from the weak NaOH solution to water for a few hours, using a needle or wire loop. Gently massage each specimen to expel most of the body contents, and spread the legs and antennae.
  4. Store the specimens in 60% alcohol for 12 to 24 hours.

Dehydration and slide mounting

Dehydration removes water, and renders the specimens translucent in clove oil.

  1. Replace the 60% ethanol with 70% ethanol and leave for about 1 hour; the legs, antennae and wings should be spread.
  2. Replace with 80% ethanol and leave for 20 minutes.
  3. Replace with 95% ethanol and leave for 10 minutes.
  4. Replace with absolute ethanol and leave for 5 minutes.
  5. Transfer to clove oil and leave for at least half an hour; gently massage and stretch each specimen if necessary to prevent collapsing.