How To Submit Sample
To ensure that samples are presented to us in the best condition possible to enabling us to undertake the most accurate level of identification please read the following advice and recommendations:
Number of specimens:
Where possible please provide up to 10 examples/specimens of each species as this representative sample will include variation in size and form as well providing a better chance of including male and female examples, which are frequently required for identification purposes.
Live specimens can be advantageous in some cases for identification purposes, although dead specimens are usually sufficient. Please contact us to discuss whether live specimens would be useful and the most appropriate way to send these.
Labelling specimens and samples:
Prepare your own label for each specimen or batch of specimens. This is best done with a waterproof ink pen or printer ink, or with a soft pencil (HB). This label should comprise of your laboratory number (if applicable) and be a unique number for each specimen or batch of specimens requiring identification. The label should ideally be placed inside the container with the specimens, with a second ‘back-up’ label attached to the container with transparent tape or written in permanent ink.
Sending ‘dry’ preserved specimens:
In most cases the invertebrates can be sent dry and as found, but to ensure that the specimens do not suffer unnecessary damage in the post/courier services loosely fold these in a piece of absorbent laboratory/kitchen towel and place in any suitable crush-proof container.
Sending ‘wet’ preserved specimens:
Orders of invertebrates that are noticeably ‘soft bodied’ and larval stages, are better preserved in a suitable liquid medium e.g. 70-80% Ethanol/IMS, denatured alcohol or Isopropyl Alcohol. If not readily available a colourless distilled alcohol such as Gin or Vodka at 40% ABV. is a good temporary alternative.
Note: It is good laboratory practice and particularly for H&S requirements to document in your communication the name and strength of the liquid used for preservation.
Specimens should be placed in a suitable leak-proof container e.g. a Sterilin tube, or other laboratory tube, with a screw sealing cap – the smaller the better. Fill the container to about three quarters full with the preservation liquid and push a loose plug of cotton wool or tissue down onto the specimens to prevent damage through ‘jarring’ while in transit. Screw the cap tightly and secure with a wrap of Sellotape or Parafilm.
Place your container/s in a grip-seal polythene bag to catch any leakage.
The condition of spiders and the preservation of characters found on their soft and fragile abdomens are crucial to their identification. This is one of the groups that are best sent in a preservative liquid as detailed above. However, if the spider is already squashed and damaged it is better to wrap the remains, as soon as possible, in a small piece of absorbent towel/tissue and place in a crush-proof container. This will allow us to retrieve the parts required for identification.
Posting and Courier Services:
Put your samples as prepared above in suitable packaging for transit e.g. padded envelope or padding within a parcel.
Please remember to enclose a copy of your communication including your name, company address, contact details and any further instructions.