How to Preserve Black Widow Spiders

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If you want to collect a black widow spider for an insect archive, proper methods are essential to keep your specimen from deteriorating. Preserving spider specimens can be a difficult task. Using 70-percent ethyl alcohol would be a preferred method for preservation, but procuring ethyl alcohol isn't easy, indicates The Ohio State University at Marion. Isopropyl alcohol can substitute as a preservative. Once you catch a black widow specimen, it's best to avoid drying it. Spiders contain soft bodies that become susceptible to shriveling and falling apart if allowed to dehydrate.

Things You'll Need

  • 2 vials
  • Water-tight stoppers
  • Cotton ball
  • Freezer
  • Paper towel
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Pen
  • Label
  • Put a cotton ball into a vial. Place your black widow spider into the vial. The cotton ball will prevent too much moisture from forming on your spider while you begin the preservation process. Seal the vial with a water-tight stopper.

  • Store your spider overnight in the refrigerator. Remove the black widow spider and place it on a paper towel to prevent any moisture from becoming absorbed onto the spider, notes the United States Department of Agriculture.

  • Place your spider into a clean vial. Pour enough isopropyl alcohol to submerge your it. Enclose the vial with a stopper.

  • Label your vial. Place the label vertically on your vial so that your specimen is presentable.

  • Photo Credit Polka Dot Images/Polka Dot/Getty Images
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