5-mil­lime­ter nee­dle hooks

Popular Science - - TALES FROM THE FIELD -

HERNÁN VÁZQUEZ MI­RANDA, WILDLIFE GENOMICIST AT UNIVER­SITY OF NE­BRASKA, LIN­COLN

When we pre­pare mice and voles for preser­va­tion, we have to clean up their del­i­cate skele­tons. So we let 2-mil­lime­ter-wide der­mestid bee­tle lar­vae eat the flesh in­side the skull and around the ribs. Af­ter the bugs grow up and then die, we care­fully re­move them with nee­dle hooks. You can’t get these tools at Wal­mart, so many are hand­made—and that’s hard work. When a re­searcher makes a per­fect hook, they trea­sure it for the rest of their life.

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