Two more mantises died this week (in addition to the male that got bit in half from the previous post) , an adult female Chinese Mantis and an adult male Carolina Mantis. I tried to hang/mount the Chinese Mantis by just her wings but the wings proved to be far to fragile so more mantis parts for the parts jar. The Carolina got hung by his right arm. I'm worried again about it all being far to fragile but I'll have to wait till the weekend (when I can take the weights off) to find out. His base isn't completed yet. I'm making a basin that the rod and base will go in to fill with ferrofluid and mantis parts.
TL;DR Stuff you didn't need to know about killing insects
In case any of you were wondering how this is done here are some process pictures. Essentially an insect is pretty pliable after dies so all you have to do is hold it in position. When these two were on their way out, eg laying on the bottom of the cage, not moving well, and going to be eaten by crickets, I put them down. Usually I put mantises in the freezer (widely accepted as a humane way to put insects down, the Omaha zoo does it this way for example) then I tend to toss them in rubbing alcohol to preserve them. In the case of these two I instead used the tried and true method of putting them in a sealed container with acetone. This method is widely use by entymologists doing field collections for pinning. The insect will still quickly and humanely die but remain quite pliable. Once posed it takes about a week for them to dry into position.
I've been working on this for quite awhile. The hardest part was to find a way to spear the mantis without tearing it apart. This is maybe the fourth try? I had a bunch of preserved ones that each time I tried pierce just tore apart. This one I found as it died and as a result was soft enough to work.