Louisiana university gives Smithsonian crustacean collection

A Louisiana university is giving the Smithsonian Institution a huge collection of crustaceans that has been used, among other things, to identify seafood mislabeled as coming from the Gulf of Mexico.

Smithsonian crustacean curator Rafael Lemaitre (lah-MAY-tree) says getting the collection from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette is a career highlight for him. The transfer ceremony was scheduled Friday at the university.

Lemaitre and the retired professor who oversaw the collection for 40 years say its great value is that most of the 100,000 specimens are suitable for genetic analysis.

Darryl Felder says it’s so big that only the Smithsonian can keep and maintain its suitability for gene sequencing. The best preservative for that purpose is 95 percent drinking alcohol, which must be changed regularly so it won’t turn to vinegar.

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