Pooting examination. Colesdalen, 2009.
Photo © Steve J. Coulson

Pooters - or sucking them up

Pooters are the entomologists stock tool. The basic concept is that the invertebrates are sucked into the collecting vessel. Three types are commonly available depending on from what substrate the invertebrates are to be collected; either mouth operated, electric or by squeezy bulb. Most are mouth operated. The advantage of mouth operation is simplicity and fine control of the amount of suction. However, collecting from substrates such as birds nests with mouth pooters is obviously unadvisable due to unpleasant fine material being drawn through the gauze into the entomologists mouth.  All entomologists are familiar with ?pooters-mouth?, a dry mouth caused by the accumulated dust in the mouth following a long successful day pooting. There is also a record of an unfortunate entomologist experiencing the hatching of eggs of Collembola and beetles in his nose after sucking these up by accident. For unhealthy substrates, a venturi or electrically powered system is preferable, either commercial or home built.


Mouth operated pooter (aspirator)Malu pooting Collembola (springtails) from a piece of wood, Colesdalen, 2009.Electric pooterVenturi-effect pooter

Pooting in the rain. María Luisa Ávila Jiménez on Nordaustlandet, August 2007