Eur. J. Entomol. 107 (2): 277-280, 2010 | 10.14411/eje.2010.036

Effect of the colour of pitfall traps on their capture efficiency of carabid beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae), spiders (Araneae) and other arthropods

Sascha BUCHHOLZ1, Anna-Marie JESS1, Florian HERTENSTEIN1, Jens SCHIRMEL2
1 Department of Community Ecology, Institute of Landscape Ecology, University of Münster, Robert-Koch-Straße 26, 48149 Münster, Germany; e-mails: saschabuchholz@uni-muenster.de, annajess@gmx.de, flohertenstein@googlemail.com
2 Biological Station Isle of Hiddensee, University of Greifswald, Biologenweg 15, 18565 Hiddensee, Germany; e-mail: jens_schirmel@web.de

Pitfall trapping is one of the most commonly used methods of sampling ground-dwelling arthropods. There are many studies on the effect of design of pitfall traps on their capture efficiency but, so far, none on the influence of the colour of the pitfall trap. In this study the abundances of seven invertebrate groups (Apidae, Araneae, Carabidae, Diptera, Formicidae, Isopoda, Vespinae) caught in pitfall traps of different colours (white, yellow, green, brown) at a dense and dry grassland site in Northwestern Germany were determined. White and yellow pitfall traps caught by far the highest numbers of individuals of Apidae, Araneae, Carabidae, Diptera and Formicidae. Isopoda were most abundant in the catches of green and brown traps. Differences among numbers caught were significant for Apidae, Araneae, Carabidae and Diptera. The effect of colour on the catches did not differ significantly between sites. Knowledge of the variation in the catching efficiency of differently coloured pitfall traps is important for designing invertebrate surveys, both from a scientific and ethical point of view.

Keywords: Animal welfare, Araneae, by-catch, Carabidae, capture efficiency, pitfall trapping, sampling design

Received: December 17, 2009; Accepted: February 8, 2010; Published: April 15, 2010

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