Dissecting Equipment

1. The tools for dissecting salivary glands out of larvae are nearly as varied as the people doing the dissection. I use two pairs of Dumont no. 5 Inox forceps, at least one pair of which must be in excellent shape; two thick, three-well depression slides (Pyrex); a black plastic plate 6.5 x 3.5 x 0.25 in.; and, most importantly, I wear a clean, old, well-washed long-tailed cotton shirt. Dissections are of course done under a dissecting microscope; exact ranges of magnifications are not critical but should be near 0.8x to 4.0x objective lenses with 10x oculars. Work is very much easier if the light source is attached to the microscope head and the microscope is set up so that the light is pointing directly toward you. This means that the microscope post is toward you. So what?

2. A box of ordinary microscope slides (frosted end on at least one side is helpful for writing labels) and a box of 18 x 18-mm cover slips, thickness no. 1. Neither needs to be pre-cleaned or coated.

3. A clean index card for the staining, rough paper toweling for cleaning the forceps and a good paper towel for the squashing. The best squashing towels I have found are the ones that have their edges folded in about 30 mm (see Note 7).

4. A white plastic (or ceramic) plate roughly the same size as the black one for doing the tapping out.

5. A tool for tapping out. I use the back end of my forceps (put the tip cover back on first so you do not risk ramming them into the microscope head), but just about anything that is firm and not too pointy can be used. However, it is easier to get consistently proper-force taps if this implement has a bit of weight (see Note 8).

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