Instructables
Picture of Dry-Mounting a Scorpion
Preface
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.

Safety Warnings
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.
 
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Pat_Maroney2 years ago
This is a well done and fascinating instructable, nice work and thank you for sharing.
I do have a few questions; if I can only get acetone from the paint section at my local hardware store is there anything I Should have to worry about?

And second; is the prep/preserve/mount method in your instructable different for bugs with wings and fuzz? Like say a moth?
ShutterEye (author)  Pat_Maroney2 years ago
Hey Cannibal, thanks for the feedback. Regarding your questions, as far as I know, the painting acetone is not very different from the medical grade stuff, so I'm sure it'll work fine. The big thing about choosing your acetone is
(A)to make sure it's clear, if it's dyed acetone (like many nail varnish removers) then you run the risk of colouring the translucent parts of the scorpion and
(B) the label should tell you whether there are any additives. (painting acetone sometimes contains other chemicals like acids or alkalines to make cleaning paintbrushes easier), If it has additives it might slowly eat away at the softer tissue of the scorpion, so try to get pure acetone without additives.

As for your second question, well, dry-mounting a butterfly or a moth is very different indeed. Scorpions are pretty tough creatures, living or dead, so you can cut them, dunk them and handle them. Butterflies and moths have tiny scales on their wings which, aside from allowing flight, also are the sole pigment carriers. if you dunked a moth in acetone or picked it up by hand it'd loose the scales and therefore all the colour in the wings.

Mounting butterflies and moths requires more specialist gear like a setting board. I'm busy planning one, and when I have the materials I'll make an Instructable on building a setting board as well as one on mounting butterflies/moths. Hope this helps!

P.S. Awesome job on the micro-geocache! So evil...
ladybgood2 years ago
wow, very well written and presented 'bile. No, I don't want to make one but I'm really pleased that now I could if I chose to. Thanks, I think :p
ShutterEye (author)  ladybgood2 years ago
Haha, yeah well, when I started dry-mounting I struggled like mad to find a good recipe, the rest all talk of cotton wool stuffing and other methods. My method of using a paste is pretty much brand new (I think), so I published this as an alternative to the current methods which are messy and leave inaccurate body shapes...
ihart2 years ago
Awesome. This is one of the things I love about Instructables. I've seen animals and other arthropods mounted in museums and always wondered how it was done. Now I know. I also caught your age reference in the beginning. I Wiki'ed it. Who knew that some of these critters can live to be 25 years old. Thanks again for doing this.
ShutterEye (author)  ihart2 years ago
Cool, scorpions are truly fascinating creatures, full of impressive "popcorn facts". I'm glad you enjoyed the read.
While I may never dry mount a scorpion (but never say never!), this was both fascinating and informative.
Good job and thanks!
ShutterEye (author)  gregnotcraig2 years ago
Thanks Greg, much appreciated!
gellis22 years ago
I'm so excited to get these directions. THANK YOU! Years ago I tried to dry mount Latrodectus Mactans for a homeopathic shadow box I was designing of the same remedy. A scientist at the Smithsonian Institute answered by email about how to euthanize it... he also said to freeze it. After that I was on my own. The body imploded a little (I didn't drain it after defrosting it). I was able to seal it in liquid glass and position it on an acrylic block inside the frame. I would like to redo it some day (if I ever find a black widow as large and beautiful as this one which was discovered in dumpster at Stanford University by some brave college students who had heard of my search of her for an educational project. I would like to dry mount a *scorpion* in the future - oh, and a Jerusalem Beetle would be nice. Thanks again! Your instructions are so much appreciated.
ShutterEye (author)  gellis22 years ago
Hey there, I'm really pleased that you've enjoyed this. You can use the same thing for spiders, but it'll be more difficult.

What you'll have to do there is insert a needle directly into the abdomen, either from the joint between the abdomen and cephalothorax, or form the trachea. (Don't stick the needle straight into the backside of the spider because you'll want to pin out the spinnerets). Then basically push and pull on the syringe to loosen the entrails, suck them out with the syringe until the abdomen has more or less collapsed.

Remove the syringe, but leave the needle in place (that way you won't need to find the hole again). Fill the syringe with some acetone and repeat the "push-pull" manoeuvre. Flushing the body cavity with acetone will help to clean it as well as displace any moisture left inside it. Then remove the syringe, again leaving the needle in place.

Mix some slightly stiffer than normal wood glue and inject it into the body cavity until the spider has reached it's natural size or perhaps a teeny bit larger than natural. Pin the legs in place, (don't forget the pedipalps and spinnerets!) and leave it to set.

Two tips on dry-mounting spiders:
1) Once you've inserted the needle, don't remove it you're sure you won't need to insert it again.
2) Tack the leg joints with wood glue or super glue, spiders' legs are weak and will certainly fall off if left to dry without reinforcement.

If you plan on sealing it in sodium silicate or synthetic resin then you won't need to do any of this, the specimen should keep its's shape accurately.

Latrodectus will give you a proper challenge to dry-mount naturally because their natural pose is oddly unnatural!
i'm sorry, good work, very good indications of enviroment a nature.
But i dont like, cause I have a special feeling with life.
Good work
jawasan2 years ago
This is pretty darn cool! (I got bit by a common scorpion one time...of course being only 8 yrs old I was POSITIVE I was gonna die....or posses scorpion powers!!.....just got sick for a few days and missed school)
Anyhow, love the ible, creepy, but way cool!
ShutterEye (author)  jawasan2 years ago
Haha, thanks... To each his own hey, I'm fascinated by everything with too many or too few legs! This particular species (Parabuthus raudus) has a very nasty sting, probably won't kill you, but it'll definitely make you sample a few religions!
jawasan2 years ago
...creepy in a GOOD way!! :)
Awesome job and a really interesting read. :D
ShutterEye (author)  jessyratfink2 years ago
Thanks Jessy, much appreciated.