Squid Beak Preservation

Discussion in 'Physiology and Biology' started by Heather Braid, Nov 16, 2007.

  1. Heather Braid

    Heather Braid O. vulgaris Supporter

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    In my invertebrate zoology lab we dissected squid and I kept the beak because we were just throwing them out afterward. I was wondering what I have to do to preserve it. Can I dilute rubbing alcohol to make it 40%, or am I supposed to preserve it in something else? Do I have to do anything to it before putting it in alcohol?

    Any advice would be great!
     
  2. Paradox

    Paradox Haliphron Atlanticus Supporter

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    You can just use rubbing alcohol without diluting it. Ive kept them without even using any fluids. The beak itself can just dry out and be kept as is.
     
  3. Heather Braid

    Heather Braid O. vulgaris Supporter

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    Sounds great, thank you for the help!
     
  4. Jean

    Jean Colossal Squid Supporter

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    Hi Heather,

    I have a word of caution, I find dried beaks to be incredibly brittle. I stored my research beaks in 70% ETOH which kept some flexibilty in the beaks.

    J
     
  5. monty

    monty Colossal Squid Staff Member Supporter

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    I know Steve has mentioned 70% ethanol or 40% isopropyl is good for the big beaks he handed out at MOTE. I have to confess, I've got mine in 70% isopropyl because it was easier to get (probably 'cause you can't drink it) and I wasn't sure if it was OK to use tapwater to dilute it down to 40% or if I should get distilled or RO water for that. I've been meaning to dilute it down next time I have a bottle of distilled water handy, but it seems OK for now...

    - M
     
  6. Heather Braid

    Heather Braid O. vulgaris Supporter

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    Thanks! I didn't want to let it dry out because I was worried that it would be too fragile. I had it in water, then I put it in the freezer for safe keeping. It's now in 99% Isopropyl, and I was thinking that maybe I should dilute it with distilled water, because I'm not sure if I can use tapwater. It's been a little less than a day and it seems fine. Is deionized water ok to use to dilute it?
     
  7. Jean

    Jean Colossal Squid Supporter

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    I've never used tap water and I'd be wary of the additives but deionised should be fine.

    J
     
  8. Nancy

    Nancy Titanites Staff Member Moderator

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    Just where can you buy ethanol that's suitable for the beaks?

    Nancy
     
  9. Jean

    Jean Colossal Squid Supporter

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    Not sure to be honest, school supplier maybe? Oh wait....Methylated spirit is 95% ethanol, 5% methanol, to avoid the purple colour go for white spirit! But rubbing alcohol is just isopropyl and that should be fine and I imagine you can get that at a chemist (pharmacy, drugstore....? struggling with Kiwi vs US english here!!!).

    J
     
  10. monty

    monty Colossal Squid Staff Member Supporter

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    I considered everclear or Bacardi 151 rum for 70% ethanol. I seem to remember someone saying that vodka can work, but I think that's usually only 40% (and has random stuff that's not just alcohol and water, as the rum would be...)
     
  11. tonmo

    tonmo Titanites Staff Member Webmaster Moderator

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    Mine are currently sitting in two jars filled with Skyy vodka. :rolleyes:
     
  12. monty

    monty Colossal Squid Staff Member Supporter

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    ABSOLUT
    CEPHALAPODE
     
  13. WhiteKiboko

    WhiteKiboko Colossal Squid Supporter Registered

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    Mine are sitting in a corn whiskey jar with three fingers of said spirit and the rest isopropyl.... yes steve, white corn whiskey :sagrin:

    my folks are coming down for turkey day so i had to clean out the freezer... consequently i just put some smooth dogfish and bonnetheads in isopropyl (in a pickle jar - only suitable glass jar i could find, but still somewhat fitting)
     
  14. Steve O'Shea

    Steve O'Shea Colossal Squid Supporter

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    Hi Heather; 99% iso is way too strong (had it been a soft-bodied animal as opposed to beak it would now be shrivelled up into a crusty little blob on the bottom of the jar). You only need 40% iso or 70% ETOH - any more will simply dehydrate the tissues. As you don't intend to 'drink' the solution (I sincerely hope not), it wouldn't matter if you diluted it with tap or toilet [safer than corn whisky!] water.
    Cheers
    O
     
  15. Heather Braid

    Heather Braid O. vulgaris Supporter

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    Thank you for the help. I just diluted it with tapwater. I’m hoping that the beak will be resistant to the isopropyl alcohol that I’ve had it in. It looks ok so far. Don’t worry, I don’t have any intention to drink the solution. lol I’m new to this all, but I’ll catch on eventually.
     
  16. Paradox

    Paradox Haliphron Atlanticus Supporter

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    Steve, for preserving soft bodied animals, how large a specimen can 40%iso be good for? Im asking because I do notice the tissue dehydrating to some degree with my specimens using 70%. Would this dilluted solution be good for a squid with a mantle length of a little over 1ft ?
     
  17. monty

    monty Colossal Squid Staff Member Supporter

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    Unless new info has come up since this article:

    http://www.tonmo.com/science/public/squidfixingnotes.php

    40% iso is fine for about as large as squids get.
     
  18. cuttlegirl

    cuttlegirl Colossal Squid Supporter Registered

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    There is a difference between "fixing" a specimen and "preserving" a specimen. A specimen is "fixed" by immersing in formalin, which stops the cells from breaking down. The specimen is then "preserved" by gradually replacing the formalin with alcohol. Formalin is difficult to obtain because it is is carcinogen, so most of us only have access to alcohol. Alcohol does work, but you will probably notice some changes over time.

    If you really want to understand this process :bonk: http://www.freshpatents.com/Use-of-fluorinated-fluids-as-storage-liquid-for-preserved-biological-specimens-dt20061005ptan20060223139.php?type=description
     
  19. Brock Fluharty

    Brock Fluharty Haliphron Atlanticus Registered

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    Cuttlegirl,

    Would that process work with a whole squid specimen? Or any cephalopod? I've been looking on biological sites for a squid to dissect, and maybe an octopus. I think that maybe I could understand the care of these animals from the inside out, plus I think that dissection and biology in general are absolutely fascinating. Could I buy a vacuum sealed squid, and put it in a formalin/alcohol solution? I'd really like to have a few specimens of Euprymna scolopes for preservation (or fixation, or whatever :P), or possibly Rossia pacifica. I've become passionate about sepiolids lately...

    If anyone knows where I can get a few dead specimens of Euprymna scolopes or Rossia pacifica could you please PM me?
     
  20. cuttlegirl

    cuttlegirl Colossal Squid Supporter Registered

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    If you can find a fish market in your area, you might be able to buy whole frozen squid and octopus. It would be better for your health to dissect a defrosted squid or octopus than one soaked in formalin. After dissection, you might not want to preserve it (the specimen will be damaged). Do you have a teacher who could help you?

    Why do you want to preserve some sepiolids?
     

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