Submitted to: Popular Publication
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: September 23, 2008
Publication Date: September 24, 2008
Citation: Buffington, M.L., Gates, M.W. 2008. The Fractionator: a simple tool for mining 'Black Gold'. Popular Publication. 2(24):1-4.
Processing large bulk samples of arthropods is a time intensive endeavor. If the target taxa are small, such as parasitic Hymenoptera on the scale of 1.0–5.0 mm, the challenge is even greater when the sample is full of large Lepidoptera and Coleoptera. The fractionator is a tool for separating large arthropods from the small ones, resulting in a macro- and micro-fraction. Basic statistics for 10 samples suggests very few micro-fraction taxa remain in the macro-fraction. Further, samples are cleaner after running in the fractionator, and very few arthropods are damaged. We conservatively estimate the fractionator cuts in half the amount of time it takes to sort a malaise trap sample.