This is a baby octopus wet specimen in a really cool triangle shaped jar. I bought it for M for our 2 year anniversary.
Octopuses (or octopi- both are correct!) are cephalopod molluscs without skeletons that are some of the most intelligent invertebrates in the world. They have hard beaks in the middle of their 8 legs. They have very unique defense systems, from expelling ink at a predator to some of the best camouflage abilities in the animal kingdom. All octopuses are also venomous, but only one species is deadly to humans (the blue-ringed octopus we posted about a while ago for our wishlist!).
Octopuses have a very short life expectancy, living from anywhere between 6 months to 5 years. Males can live for only a few months after mating, and females die shortly after their eggs hatch because they spend the month taking care of their unhatched eggs without eating, eventually dying of starvation.
They can be trained to differentiate between shapes and patterns, they can break out of their aquariums, and they have been observed using tools. As you can tell we think octopuses are awesome!
An unknown species of baby octopus in a jar.
Size: 2.25″ width each side, 4.5″ tall
Diaphonization is the art/science of staining the bones and cartilage in a wet specimen. The process was first developed in 1977 by the scientists Dingerkus and Uhler, who originally called it “clearing and staining”. The “clearing” part was making the specimen clear by bathing it in trypsin, a digestive enzyme that slowly breaks down the flesh. The specimen is then soaked in multiple batches of bone, cartilage, and/or muscle dyes (the “staining”). The most common dyes are alizarin red and alcian blue. Alcian blue stains cartilage, alizarin red stains bone, and muscle is stained purple.
Diaphonization is almost always used on small specimens under one foot in length because the process takes such a long time. A large rat could take up to six months to complete. Amphibians, fish, and reptiles are particularly suited to this process because their tissues are usually too delicate to be dissected. Using diaphonization on these species is the best way to look at their inner structures without changing or harming them.
We have one diaphonized specimen in our collection so far that we’ll be posting soon!
This cow eyeball was given to us by a friend who collects curiosities like us!
Cow eyeballs are commonly used for dissection in science classes because of their similarity to human eyes, though they are quite bigger.
Preserved cow eyeball wet specimen
Size: 2 1/4″ wide x 1 1/2″ tall; jar 2 3/4″ tall
From: Given as a gift
Price: Unknown, but you can find them online for just a few dollars
This is one of the first butterflies we ever added to our collection (it’s technically M’s). We went to the World of Wings exhibit in New Jersey in February of 2014. There were some reptiles on display, but the main attraction was their butterfly exhibit, where every hour they would release the butterflies all around you in a special climate controlled room just for them.
Honestly I’m a little scared of butterflies because I don’t like bugs that can fly but this was a cool experience and I like how beautiful they are (as long as they’re dead).
We unfortunately don’t know what species of butterfly this one is, but it has beautiful black, white, orange, and yellow markings. We highly recommend the World of Wings exhibit if you’re ever in the area!
A butterfly displayed in glass with a wooden frame.
Size: butterfly 3″ wide x 1 1/2″ tall; frame 4 1/2″ wide x 4″ tall x 2″ deep
From: World of Wings Museum
Quail is a collective name for many species of mid-sized birds in the order Galliformes. There are Old World quails and New World quails, which are two different families (Phasianidae and Odontophoridae, respectively). They are kept as pets, hunted for food, or used for their eggs.
We unfortunately do not know what species of quail we have, but it is cute!
A common kind of bird preserved in a glass jar.
Size: 1.5″ diameter x 3.25″ tall
From: Black Bear Bath Salts – Etsy
The blue-ringed octopus is one of the most dangerous marine species in the world. Although it is generally docile in nature and only 5-8″ long, its venom is powerful enough to kill humans (and there is no antivenom for it). The neurotoxin it uses, called tetrodotoxin, is 1,200 times more toxic than cyanide. This neurotoxin causes motor paralysis and respiratory arrest within minutes, which leads to cardiac arrest due to a lack of oxygen. The venom can also result in nausea, heart failure, paralysis, and blindness, eventually leading to death within a few minutes. A single blue-ringed octopus carries enough venom to kill 26 adults!
The good thing is it is possible to survive a bite from a blue-ringed octopus. The victim can be saved through artificial respiration, if started soon enough and kept up for the entire time the person is paralyzed until they can start breathing on their own again.
We someday want a wet specimen of this octopus for our collection, because it’s one of the most venomous species in the world (and it looks cool)!