Okay, those of you who are familiar to my other Instructables will know what’s coming… A few VERY important things to remember before we take even a single step on the topic of dry-mounting a scorpion.
1. Scorpions are not toys. They are sentient animals just like us. They are extremely important to any eco-system in which they occur. NEVER collect a specimen unless you have the following things;
A. A bloody good reason!! (Research, Environmental Education etc.)
B. All necessary legal documents. I live in South Africa and am required to possess a collection permit issued by “The Department of Environmental Conservation”, which is the authority here. I can’t give specifics on the details of another country’s’ systems, but be warned that illegal collection of fauna is a criminal offence, don’t take chances.
C. An applicable knowledge on the scorpion species. Scorpions too have their scarce species. Make sure that your collection will not influence the environment.
2. Collect kindly. Never use anything more than what you absolutely need for your project.
3. Scorpions are not toys.
I will assume that the reader has spent some time reflecting on the above points. Aside from collecting, you can use this Instructable to mount a deceased pet scorpion which (hopefully) was bred in captivity. To summarize the preface, treat scorpions with respect, they’re older than you.
Extra note for scientists: I have avoided all manner of jargon in this Instructable, in particular, morphological names. If you read the word “head” or “body” somewhere, please excuse me, but filling the Instructable up with “prosomas” and “mesosomas” will just annoy and confuse others. The specimen I used in this Instructable is Parabuthus raudus, a common species in the Kalahari Desert, South Africa.
I won’t spend much time on this, aside from the obvious dangers involved in working with potentially deadly animals; this procedure also uses needles and scalpels etc. Play it safe. Oh, and you’ll be working with acetone – don’t go drinking the stuff.
Nothing in this Instructable is inherently dangerous if you approach it with some good old common sense.
Step 1: Background (What is Dry-mounting?)
Understanding dry-mounting is critical to this Instructable, therefore I've dedicated a whole step to explaining what it is.
Dry-mounting is a method of preserving a scorpion for displaying purposes such as framing or museum cabinets.
The term “dry-mounted” refers to any specimens which are not preserved in Formalin or other liquid preservatives.
Normally, for scientific purposes, scorpions are always preserved in fluid. Dry mounting isn’t of much scientific value because it involves removing all the internal organs and essentially rendering the scorpion nothing more than a stuffed version of the real thing. Butterflies and moths are dry-mounted, but that nasty embryo you see on the mad scientist’s desk in horror films is wet-preserved.
Dry-mounting a scorpion is a longer procedure (than say with butterflies) as it involves gutting and ‘hollowing out’ the specimen to prevent rotting and also to keep the specimen’s shape. If you simply dried a scorpion out it’d shrink and warp something terrible.
With the background out of the way, let us continue!