How to relax / rehydrate a butterfly ?

The best technique to relax butterflies

I've been collecting butterflies for 30 years and had never found the perfect technique for rehydrating butterflies before spreading them.

I can guarantee you that I have tried dozens of techniques, I will mention for example :
- placing the specimen in a jar filled with moist sand for 3 days,
- inject the butterfly with hot water using a syringe
- injecting the butterfly with gin or vodka

None of these solutions was perfect: 3 days in a jar is sometimes not enough to soften a butterfly but molds appear as soon as the 2nd day.
Injection is not practical on small specimens like Lycaenidae and sometimes dramas occur with fats present in the body that spread in the wings and stain them. 

It is only very recently that I discovered a very simple and fast technique (less than 24 hours).

All you need is a cloth, a spray bottle, an airtight tupperware and a refrigerator.

Rather than give you a long speech, watch this video from our friends of Insects4Sale : 

Few important advices to relax your butterflies

You have watched the above video, you now know almost everything. A few important tips though:

- I let the specimen within its enveloppe to avoid a direct contact between the wet cloth and the butterfly (see picture below)
- 16 hours seem to be enough time for classic size butterflies. If your specimen is not relaxed enough, it means your cloth wasn't wet enough.
- this said, don't get the cloth too wet
- use a tupperware or a perfectly airtight jar
- don't forget to put it in the refrigerator. The cold plays an important role in the rehydration of the specimen
- before spreading your butterfly, ensure it is perfectly relaxed. If not, add it in the fridge for 6 hours.

relax-butterfly.jpg
Some Delias butterflies rehydration

 

If you've never tried this refrigerator technique, please try it and let me know. I am sure you will be impressed. It works perfectly for all sizes of butterflies.