Mechanized extraction of arthropods from cattle dung

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:1987
Authors:R. W. Sutherst, Macqueen, A., Kelley, B. M., Stegeman, D. A., Asher, K. G., Tozer, R. S.
Journal:Bulletin of Entomological Research

Ecological, population and community studies of arthropod fauna inhabiting dung require large-scale quantitative data to produce statistically adequate results. A mechanized extraction technique is described which recovers fauna accurately and rapidly from large numbers of cattle dung pads. The equipment comprises a motor-driven paddle which agitates the dung sample in a bucket with fine mesh panels inlaid into its walls and through which is passed a continuous flow of water. An electric motor drives five such units simultaneously. Most dipteran puparia and adult arthropods float on water and are recovered following the washing. Puparia are recovered manually, while mites and adult beetles are extracted from the floating debris with heat in modified Berlese-TulIgren funnels. The wash bucket and its drained contents are then immersed in a flotation vat through which a sodium carbonate solution is recirculated. Insect eggs and larvae are floated off into sieves and rinsed before preservation. The resulting samples are fixed and preserved in 70% ethanol for later identification and counting. The procedure recovered 70-90% of most types and stages of dung fauna. Up to 25 complete dung pads can be processed per day with a team of three people.

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith