Wet Specimen Care Sheet

Caring for a wet or diaphonized specimen requires careful attention to preservation techniques and ongoing maintenance to ensure its longevity. Here's a step-by-step guide on how to care for a wet specimen:
  • Handling: Handle the specimen with care to avoid causing damage to delicate tissues or structures. Use gloves to protect both yourself and the specimen from contamination.
  • Storing Specimens: Store the wet specimen in a container filled with the appropriate storage solution. The container should be made of a non-reactive material such as glass or plastic, and the solution should cover the specimen completely to prevent dehydration or deterioration. Cork topped containers will cause evaporation more quickly due to the porosity of the cork, but there is nothing wrong with using these for a jar choice if you are careful with maintenance for them. There is a chance for evaporation in almost any jar choice you make, wet specimens require regular maintenance to keep in a collection and should be regularly taken care of.
  • Storage Solution: Choose the appropriate storage solution based on the type of preservation that has been executed on the specimen. 70% isopropyl alcohol is used as a storage chemical for wet specimens, glycerin is used for storing diaphonized pieces.
  • Regular Inspection: Periodically inspect the specimen for any signs of fluid evaporation or discoloration in the liquid/specimen itself.
  • Maintenance: Replace the liquid completely when evaporation begins to happen noticeably, do NOT top off the liquid. Isopropyl alcohol has an expiration date (usually printed on the side or lid of the bottle), eventually the alcohol evaporates and leaves behind the water it is diluted with. Topping off alcohol can eventually harm your wet specimens due to the lowered alcohol content as it evaporates. Glycerin is more likely to discolor over time than evaporate, but there should still be care taken to make sure diaphonized specimens are regularly maintained as well.
  • Avoid Direct Sunlight: Store the wet or diaphonized specimens away from direct sunlight and heat sources, as exposure to UV radiation and high temperatures can accelerate tissue degradation.
  • Proper Labeling (Optional): Ensure that the container is properly labeled with relevant information such as the specimen's species, date of preservation, and any additional notes or precautions. For my own collection, I keep a disposable tag with the fluid expiration date and date of last service when I change out fluids.
  • Professional Consultation: If you are unsure about caring for a particular specimen or encounter any issues, seek advice from a professional in the field of specimen preservation. I am always reachable through social media or emails for any questions regarding specimens purchased from me, but I will try my best to advise on others’ work if they are unreachable as well.
By following these guidelines and regularly monitoring the condition of the wet specimen, you can ensure that it remains well-preserved and maintains its aesthetic and scientific value for years to come.