The Taxidermist

Mothballs

Mothballs

I’m answering some email while on the bus, a scent transports me to my practice taxidermy in my teens.

Out camping trips with large nets ready to capture the most diverse insects, from beetles to butterflies, select it, classify them. Learning from each species, their morphology, their behavior, their habits, all really fascinating.

On our return to the laboratory, the local university has provided closed jars, with a substrate of cyanide under a sticky material with holes to allow cyanide fumes fill the jar. There would put insects inside. It was frustrating for me, but I had to take that step. To think that the end result would allow the specimens were exhibited to the local population for study and admiration of the importance of such living things in the local ecosystem, that entailed to the Protection of the remainder would be alive, it was my way of rationalizing that fact.

After witnessing the agony of insects, we proceeded to inject them with a mixture of silica gel and 10% formalin and immediately set them on a cork base with pins, for display in a natural position.

In a few days the insects would be stiff enough to pull the pins and put them in their final display box with labels and legends.

To prevent the other insects consumed as food, we placed some mothballs. With such a pungent smell that I did not like at all. I remember the smell of my grandmother’s closets where her dresses and my grandfather suits which they didn’t use anymore was stored.

That same pungent smell was now on the bus, and after searching unsuccessfully a taxidermist among users, I just came across an old man who gave off the smell as if it were of perfume, perhaps unaware that the chemical is carcinogenic.

The rest of the questions, surely jump to mind, what your business is doing for your elders?

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