Leaf litter sieve

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A leaf litter sieve is a piece of equipment used by entomologists, in particular by coleopterists (beetle collectors) (Cooter 1991, page 7) as an aid to finding invertebrates in leaf litter.

A typical leaf litter sieve consists of a gauze with holes of approximately 5 to 10 mm width. The entomologist places handfuls of leaf litter into the sieve, which is placed above a white sheet or tray. The sieve is shaken, and insects are separated from the leaf litter and fall out for inspection. Charles Valentine Riley details use of a simple sieve with a cloth bag. [1] A more complex combination sieve is described by Hongfu. [2]


  1. ^ Charles Valentine Riley, 1892 Directions for collecting and preserving insects Bulletin (United States National Museum) no. 39, pt. F. Washington,Govt. Printing Off. Full text online here
  2. ^ Hongfu, Zhu, 1949 How to know the immature insects; an illustrated key for identifying the orders and families of many of the immature insects with suggestions for collecting, rearing and studying them, by H. F. Chu. Pictured key nature series Dubuque, Iowa,W. C. Brown Co.Full text online here