Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Berlese or Tullgren funnel

The Berlese or Tullgren funnel and its modifications are cleaner and more efficient than sifting to separate insects and mites from leaf mold and similar materials. The sample (usually presifted to remove large debris) is placed on a screen near the top of a funnel. A light bulb can be placed above the sample to produce heat and light, which drive the insects downward into the funnel, or heated coils or a jacket around the funnel can be used to dry the sample and make it inhospitable.

The insects and mites are directed by the funnel into a container, sometimes containing alcohol at the bottom of the funnel. Care should be taken not to dry the sample so rapidly that slow-moving specimens are immobilized before they can leave the sample. To prevent large amounts of debris from falling into the container, place the sample on the screen before the container is put in place.

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