• TONMOCON VII Announced | MBL at Woods Hole | Apr 6-8, 2018
  • Thanks for visiting! TONMO is the world's greatest online cephalopod enthusiast community, with interactive content going back to May of 2000, and a biennial conference. If you'd like to join in on the fun, become a TONMO member -- it's easy and free. You can follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more cephy goodness.


Squid Beak Preservation

Heather Braid

O. vulgaris
Supporter
Joined
Feb 18, 2007
Messages
76
#1
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!
 

Jean

Colossal Squid
Supporter
Joined
Nov 19, 2002
Messages
4,218
Location
Dunedin, New Zealand
#4
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
 

monty

TONMO Supporter
Staff member
Supporter
Joined
Mar 8, 2004
Messages
4,887
#5
Jean;105097 said:
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
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
 

Heather Braid

O. vulgaris
Supporter
Joined
Feb 18, 2007
Messages
76
#6
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?
 

Jean

Colossal Squid
Supporter
Joined
Nov 19, 2002
Messages
4,218
Location
Dunedin, New Zealand
#9
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
 

monty

TONMO Supporter
Staff member
Supporter
Joined
Mar 8, 2004
Messages
4,887
#10
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...)
 

tonmo

Titanites
Staff member
Webmaster
Joined
May 30, 2000
Messages
9,138
Location
Pennsylvania
#11
Mine are currently sitting in two jars filled with Skyy vodka. :rolleyes:
 

monty

TONMO Supporter
Staff member
Supporter
Joined
Mar 8, 2004
Messages
4,887
#12
tonmo;105170 said:
Mine are currently sitting in two jars filled with Skyy vodka. :rolleyes:
ABSOLUT
CEPHALAPODE
 

WhiteKiboko

TONMO Supporter
Supporter
Joined
Feb 15, 2003
Messages
2,702
Location
Charleston
#13
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)
 

Steve O'Shea

TONMO Supporter
Supporter
Joined
Nov 19, 2002
Messages
4,668
#14
Heather Braid;105099 said:
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?
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
 

Heather Braid

O. vulgaris
Supporter
Joined
Feb 18, 2007
Messages
76
#15
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.
 

Paradox

Haliphron Atlanticus
Supporter
Joined
Feb 18, 2005
Messages
720
#16
Steve O'Shea;105197 said:
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
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 ?
 

monty

TONMO Supporter
Staff member
Supporter
Joined
Mar 8, 2004
Messages
4,887
#17
Paradox;105221 said:
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 ?
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.
 

cuttlegirl

Colossal Squid
Registered
Joined
Sep 16, 2005
Messages
4,930
Location
Pittsburgh, PA
#18
Paradox;105221 said:
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 ?
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
 

Brock Fluharty

Haliphron Atlanticus
Registered
Joined
Oct 13, 2005
Messages
511
#19
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?
 

cuttlegirl

Colossal Squid
Registered
Joined
Sep 16, 2005
Messages
4,930
Location
Pittsburgh, PA
#20
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?
 

Members online