[Syrphidae] Re: relaxing flies

Bastiaan Wakkie bwakkie at syrphidae.com
Tue Oct 4 11:56:50 BST 2022

Hi Sander,

I let the dried specie sit in a closed container (plastic/glass) with 
some /Prunus laurocerasus/ (en:cherry laurel, nl:Laurier kers)*

The leaves need to be prepared upfront though by bruising them and left 
in its own closed jar for a week or so till they  become brown.  When 
you open the jar is you will smell "nl:bitterkoekjes, en:macaroons??" 
then you know it ready. This can be kept good for years.

The already brown leaves producetiny bits of cyanide. This will help 
relax the dried specie.

With  these leaves you also can keep for instance unpinned specimens 
relaxed during your travel so you can pin them later at home (check for 
fungi though, so not to wet). I also use it is as relatively good 
killing agent.

I personally use cherry laurel successfully for decades.

A nice anecdote: One time I only got stopped at the US customs as I 
declared I was taking plant material into the country, don't do that! It 
took me a long time to persuade the customs to let me pass into the 
country with cyanide, hehehe  ;-)




On 9/29/22 07:48, Sander Bot wrote:
> Hi all,
> Sometimes I need to relax flies to extract genitalia or to model them 
> for photography. I use the method described in the attached paper, 
> which works really well. Working with steam has one disadvantage 
> though, the wings often wrinkle.
> I heard there is a slower method to relax flies, which takes a day or 
> so in which the wings do not wrinkle. Does anybody have experience 
> with this and is happy to share this method?
> Cheers,
> Sander
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Bastiaan Wakkie
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