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DIY Aspirator


Inkie14
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Home-made aspirator for collecting and studying very small arthropods such as thrips, springtails, ants, and mites. Two vinyl tubes stuck in the top of a deli cup, with the longest tube (the one you suck air through) covered with a thin layer of cotton to keep you from swallowing what you catch!

Aspirator.jpg

I'm gonna go use it right now!

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It works really well, and even the smallest nearly microscopic springtails I collected were unharmed.

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It works really well, and even the smallest nearly microscopic springtails I collected were unharmed.

I will have to try this out at the Botanical Garden. They have a few interesting tropical ants (Tapinoma melanocephalum and Cardiocondyla sp.) living among the plants. I've noticed queens on several occasions but have not had a way to collect them quickly. :)

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Very nice homemade aspirator! Quick and easy and if the deli cup breaks for any reason it's super easy to repair/replace.

I always like using Alex Wild's blog post for making my DIY stuff: http://www.myrmecos.net/2012/01/23/diy-entomology-equipment/

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UPDATE:

So if you're like me, you sometimes get a little too excited about grabbing that little springtail or mite before it runs away. While collecting small arthropods from a compost pile, I accidentally without realizing it sucked air through the short tube, and collected with the long tube. Not only was this disgusting because I had just put my mouth on a piece of tube that had touched manure (UGHHHHH bleh.gif) but the little arthropod got sucked into the long tube and was stopped by the cotton, making it so that if I sucked through the long tube again I would swallow the bug!!!

Solution:

UpdatedAspirator.jpg

I put a small strip of colored tape near the opening of the small tube. This way, I'll be able to see that it's the wrong tube before I put my mouth on it.

Also, you can use a small ball of cotton to seal off the small tube when you've finished collecting, to eliminate the chances that a bug will climb up and out of the tube.

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