04 May 2009

Seven kilos of pickled slugs


Until the weekend, I am in possession of several jars of philomycid slugs preserved in alcohol. To make the long story short, Megan Paustian, who is researching these slugs for her Ph.D., had requested them from Tim Pearce at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Pittsburgh. Tim brought the slugs to D.C. last weekend and then left them in my care.


The entire lot weighed about 7 kilograms or 15 pounds on the bathroom scale. Now, Megan and I are trying to figure out a plan for a smooth transfer of these alcoholic Nacktschnecken, or naked snails, to her.


There are also several slides of genitalia removed from dissected slugs. The person who prepared these slides more than a decade ago apparently mounted them in something called Permount. The mountant has since been yellowing and turning opaque. Soon, the genitalia will all be totally obscured.


Before I relinquish the slugs to Megan, I will try to examine and photograph some of the dissections.



Carl Christensen e-mailed this:
"If the mounting medium has crystallized to the point where the specimens are obscured, try dissolving the Permount with toluene (or was it xylene--I'm getting forgetful!) and remounting the slides with new mounting medium."

Megan said...

What a trove! (Again, I'm sorry for the cumbersome weight of it all!) I'm intrigued by the many pre-dissected slugs.

Anonymous said...

As Aydin said, Xylene should dissolve the Permount.