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Keywords:

  • endophallus;
  • genitalia;
  • insects;
  • preparation;
  • vesica;
  • lepidoptera;
  • phalloblaster

ABSTRACT

We describe a simple, effective and relatively cheap instrument for the inflation of soft parts of insect genitalia, particularly the vesica (endophallus) of small male lepidopteran specimens. It can also be applied in female genitalia and for the hyperextension of postabdominal segments of the telescoping type. A fine glass capillary is mounted on a self-constructed micromanipulator system with capillary holder, moveably placed aside a microscope. The micromanipulator is constructed from the x- and y-pinions of a discarded microscope table and the z-pinion of a discarded microscope. Preparation is carried out as usual on a microscopic slide. The inflatable soft parts are pushed out mechanically and then fully inflated and subsequently hardened by pumping absolute alcohol with a medical syringe via a flexible PVC tube, the capillary holder and the glass capillary into the phallus. With affordable effort, our “hands-off”apparatus might considerably ease preparation. Microsc. Res. Tech. 76:258–262, 2013. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.