The making of the insect collection

The science of insect study is called entomology. Presented herewith are different ways of insect collecting in nature as well as laboratory work, which comprises both technical and specialist processing of the collected material. In the field, entomologists catch animals with various devices, such as butterfly net. A very similar to it is the catcher – a linen bag on a hoop fitted with a holder. With the catcher, insects are caught in meadows and bushes. Sometimes, a white sheet is spread under a tree or bush, on to which animals, mostly insects, fall after thorough shaking of trees or bushes. As the insects are mostly small and gentle, they are caught by an appliance called »exhauster«. This is a small bottle with two tubes set in its stopper. When a gatherer sucks in air through the first tube, a sip of air is created at the mouth of the second tube owing to the negative pressure, sucking in tiny animals. The device is also suitable for catching individual animals under stones, in meadows, bushesand other places. Entomologists can also catch insects with various traps or attract them during the night with special lights by illuminating the white surface. Some insects, such as beetles and butterflies, must be prepared prior to being placed in collection – prepared in a position in which their diagnostic characteristics will be clearly visible. When butterflies are in a suitable position, they are pinned to a specially designed wooden board and left to dry in this particular position. Elaborately equipped with all the particulars about the species, site of recovery and the finder, they are then deposited in special entomological boxes. Some insects are also preserved in alcohol, while the smallest ones are kept as microscopic preparations. In museum collections, however, only the animals implicitly needed by experts to identify a species or for some other scientific purposes are kept. Animals are otherwise studied in their natural habitats, where they are of course not killed. This holds true especially of rare and endangered species. By taping and studying their animals' voices, for example, the species affiliation and kinship relations between singing insects are studied as well as some other interesting mechanisms in nature. The insects calling in nature are taped with special microphones, with tape recordings eventually deposited in the collection of sound records.