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Just curious, seems like something that may be interesting to do if for example you had a particularly noteworthy specimen...
 

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I clear and stain small animals to illustrate their skeletons and cartilage. Most of my specimens are fish but I have done frogs, turtles, chameleons, and mice. I would love to do a poison dart frog at some point.
 

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If I ever have an animal die, I preserve it for the local university's collection.
That's a great idea Zach. I'd be interested in the best way to do this, too. I remember way back in high school or junior high science, using rubbing alcohol to preserve bugs but it didn't keep very good color. I would think that trying to keep some color would be a bonus on darts. Formaldehyde maybe?
 

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That's a great idea Zach. I'd be interested in the best way to do this, too. I remember way back in high school or junior high science, using rubbing alcohol to preserve bugs but it didn't keep very good color. I would think that trying to keep some color would be a bonus on darts. Formaldehyde maybe?
Unfortunately, color will be lost in specimens, regardless of the preservative used.

I think the most common method is to fix the specimen in a formalin aceto-alcohol solution and transfer to an alcohol for long term storage - usually ethanol or isopropyl alcohol. I strongly advise against the use of formalin - it causes cancer.

For small specimens like dart frogs, it wouldn't hurt to just put them in IPA, ethanol or methanol. These are readily available and are not nearly as hazardous as formalin.
 

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Someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think some kind of alcohol based solution is the preferred method now. If I remember correctly Formaldehyde makes some genetic work difficult if not impossible.

This got me wondering...
Has anyone considered doing some taxidermy on a dart frog? You could make some cool displays with wood/rock maybe even live plants and/or a waterfall. Maybe this idea deserves a separate thread?

Looks like some has been done with larger frogs...


 

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I place the animal in a clean jar with isopropyl alcohol until I can get it to the university. I believe the preservative is changed after I drop it off.
 

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I work in a herplab at SIUC so if I do loose anything it goes into the teaching collection here. That way they can continue to be enjoyed. At lot of the type of species we keep would never be part of a zoology programs collection without doing this.
 

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They are actually common tourist souvenirs.... I had some friends on mine bring me back some that are playing cards...

Ed
 

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Yea those make me sad. I would see them all the time when I would visit family I Mexico.
 

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I guess it would come down to what you intended to do with it.......

Make a mold, drop it into Epoxy, and make a paper weight? That should keep the color for a few years, if not more? I've done that with quite a few Inverts and they turned out really well.......
 

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I have never preserved a frog (and don't really have any inclination to). I do, however, maintain a university collection of vouchered fish specimens.

The textbook method of preserving fish involves both formalin and alcohol. Soaking specimens in a formalin solution (10% formaldehyde and 90% H2O) for ~2-3 weeks fixes the colors. Some of the red and yellow pigments will fade to shades of grey and brown, but not nearly as bad as if formalin wasn't used. Specimens are then rinsed well and transfered to a jar with 50% alcohol for long-term storage. Isopropyl (rubbing alcohol) works fine, ethanol (Everclear drinking alcohol) works better, but my favorite (in terms of preserving color) is methanol (sold with the paint thinners at walmart).

Formalin does degrade the DNA, so we always use pure (lab grade) ethanol when DNA work is anticipated.

We have some freeze dried amphibians in the lab, which look pretty cool and have decent colors (I think the last one of the photos DendroDave posted looks freeze dried). I bet its also possible to taxidermy and paint. However, the neatest option (in my opinion) was proposed by Ross--an original frog print would be neat to look at, a little less grotesque, and colors would never fade.

Tom
 

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I have access to a silicone that can make a negative mold of frozen animals, like frogs.

I haven't done this, but I know I could: Mold positioned and frozen dart frog in silicone and cast in a urethane resin, like my frog statues.

Then the animal could be painted to match the original, thus preserving this animal for display without the gross frog in formalin or skin drying.

Just a morbid thought lol
 
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