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Berlese Funnel #2

Berlese Funnel #2
UW-Madison Department of Entomology, Dane County, Wisconsin, USA
Berlese funnels are used to extract arthropods from various types of forest litter. The litter is supported in the funnel by a piece of hardware cloth which is cut to completely fill the diameter of the upper part of the funnel. The cover has an incandescent light bulb whose light and warmth will drive the arthropods downward through the litter, past the hardware cloth, through the funnel and down into the catch jar/container. The catch jar can contain alcohol or not, depending if you want specimens live. If you process for live specimens, make sure to make some sort of secure connection between the funnel and catch jar otherwise you'll be sharing your lab space with the rich litter fauna. A piece of window screen may be placed on top of the hardware cloth for treehole litter, etc. where the litter material is of fine consistency.

Steps for use:
1) Clean the funnel. Discard previously processed litter. Remove and brush off hardware cloth (and window screening if used). Brush the entirety of the funnel and cover. This will reduce/eliminate cross-contamination of samples.
2) Replace hardware cloth (and place the window screening on top of the hardware cloth if you are going to use it).
3) Fill a catch jar with an appropriate amount of alcohol.
4) Place an empty catch jar (no alcohol) under the funnel.
5) Carefully place the litter on the hardware cloth/window screening and spread evenly.
6) Replace the 'empty' catch jar (which will now contain some litter and arthropods) with your alcohol-filled catch jar.
7) Empty the contents of the 'empty' catch jar back into the funnel.
8) Plug cover in.
9) Place cover on top of funnel.
10) Wait, and replenish alcohol periodically (every 2-5 days depending on original alcohol level).
11) Process sample when litter has completely dried out (usually after a week or 2).

I 'churn' the funnel contents usually on a daily basis to bring the moist litter up closer to the light. This decreases the amount of time needed to process a sample. When I 'churn' the contents, I replace the alcohol-filled catch jar with an empty one so as not to fill my alcohol-filled catch jar with detritus. This makes the sample much easier to process under the scope.

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Berlese Funnel #2 Berlese Funnel #2

Thanks for posting these Jeff. What is the wattage rating for the light source?

I have no idea. My electrical knowledge is severely deficient. We generally run 40-60 watt bulbs in our funnels. I like the 60 watt bulbs as they dry the sample faster. I guess it depends on the design of your funnel. I'll try to post some newer images with dimensions added in a couple of weeks.

I googled 'berlese funnel watt' and got articles listing anywhere from 20-100 watts. Also some do-it-yourself setups.

If you want live specimens, I would recommend using lower wattage bulbs. And I would recommend putting some sort of substrate at the bottom of your catch jar so that things can escape the predators you'll get. And check the catch jar often when working with living specimens.

I'd love to build something like that...
but I'm trying to get the shop set up to build my 1/4 scale RC model airplane (J-3 Cub). Actually I've been trying to get started on this project for awhile, but I'm having tooooo much fun with this macrophotography!

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