How to Submit a Spider Specimen
1. Killing the spider: you can either plop the spider in rubbing alcohol, or if that seems unpleasant put the spider in the freezer overnight.
2. Preserving the spider: soak the spider for at least 48 hours in isopropyl rubbing alcohol or ethyl alcohol.
3. Labeling the spider: The most important thing is to remember to include a label INSIDE the container with the spider, written in PENCIL (not ink).
on the label you need: date, exact locality, collector's name, habitat (where you found it)
[the reason that I do not accept spider specimens with a label attached to the outside of the container is that they usually peel off before I get the spider, even if they did make it here, I need to re-make the label in a form that does not have adhesive. Pencil is better than ink because it will not dissolve in alcohol like ink does.]
4. Mailing the spider: After the spider has been soaked in alcohol, it will remain preserved for some time. Pour off the alcohol then put the moist spider and an alcohol-moist tissue or piece of paper towel in the container with the pencil label. Put this container into a sealed plastic bag to avoid any seepage. Mail the spider in a well padded envelope or small box. The US Post Office will NOT accept mail with flammable liquid which is why you need to pour off the liquid and ensure that no moisture leaks out of the vial.
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Consider the small plastic snap lid film canisters. They can be had for free from a local camera store or camera department of a department store. Just ask the manager to save you the used ones and come back in a week. Managers are usually happy to do this and you get jillions of containers. Alternately, you can use old clean plastic medicine or vitamin bottles. Remember you need to use plastic because glass may break in the mail. In any case the container must be waterproof and non crushable so that the spider doesn't dry out or get squashed in the mail.