Eur. J. Entomol. 109 (3): 419-426, 2012 | 10.14411/eje.2012.054

The effect of pitfall trap construction and preservative on catch size, species richness and species composition of ground beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae)

Michal KNAPP, Jan RŮŽIČKA
Department of Ecology, Faculty of Environmental Sciences, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Kamýcká 129, Praha 6 - Suchdol, CZ-165 21, Czech Republic; e-mail: kapon@atlas.cz

Pitfall trapping is the most frequently used sampling technique for epigeal arthropods. Trap design could significantly affect the catch so the results of studies using different trap designs may be difficult to compare. Although species composition is frequently investigated in ecological studies, however when pitfall trapping is employed, the effect of trap design on the recorded species composition is rarely considered. In the present study, we investigated the effect of trap construction (funnel or cup trap) and the preservative used (formaldehyde or propylene glycol) on total catch, catch of particular species, species richness and species composition of the ground beetle assemblage sampled. We were interested in the extent to which trap design could bias these characteristics. Total catch was significantly affected by trap construction and preservative used, with the effect of the latter being the stronger. Species richness was only slightly affected by trap design when assemblages caught by traps of a particular type were corrected for unequal sample size. Moreover, we show that the traps of different designs differ in their efficiency for catching particular species of carabid and thus the composition of assemblages recorded using pitfall traps is affected by trap construction and the preservative used. We conclude that to assess the full significance of the effect of pitfall trap design on the results of ecological studies on epigeal arthropods it is necessary to simultaneously use traps of various designs.

Keywords: Carabidae, sampling technique, pitfall trap design, bias, propylene glycol, formaldehyde, cup trap, funnel, assemblages similarity, species composition

Received: September 21, 2011; Accepted: May 19, 2012; Published: July 2, 2012

Download citation

References

  1. ABSOLON K., BENDA P., CHRUDINA Z., KLAUDISOVA A., PARIL P. & RICANEK M. 1994: Methodology of Data Collection for Biomonitoring in Protected Areas. Cesky ustav ochrany prirody, Praha, 70 pp. [in Czech]
  2. ADIS J. 1979: Problems of interpreting arthropod sampling with pitfall traps. Zool. Anz. 202: 177-184
  3. ARNEBERG P. & ANDERSEN J. 2003: The energetic equivalence rule rejected because of a potentially common sampling error: evidence from carabid beetles. Oikos 101: 367-375 Go to original source...
  4. BUCHHOLZ S., JESS A.M., HERTENSTEIN F. & SCHIRMEL J. 2010: Effect of the colour of pitfall traps on their capture efficiency of carabid beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae), spiders (Araneae) and other arthropods. Eur. J. Entomol. 107: 277-280 Go to original source...
  5. CRAWLEY M.J. 2007: The R Book. Wiley, Chichester, 950 pp
  6. DIGWEED S.C., CURRIE C.R., CARCAMO H.A. & SPENCE J.R. 1995: Digging out the "digging-in effect" of pitfall traps: Influences depletion and disturbance on catches of ground beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae). Pedobiologia 39: 561-576
  7. ELPHICK C.S. 2008: How you count counts: the importance of methods research in applied ecology. J. Appl. Ecol. 45: 1313-1320 Go to original source...
  8. GOTELLI N.J. & COLWELL R.K. 2001: Quantifying biodiversity: procedures and pitfalls in the measurement and comparison of species richness. Ecol. Lett. 4: 379-391 Go to original source...
  9. GREENSLADE P.J.M. 1964: Pitfall trapping as a method for studying populations of carabidae (Coleoptera). J. Anim. Ecol. 33: 301-310 Go to original source...
  10. HALSALL N.B. & WRATTEN S.D. 1988: The efficiency of pitfall trapping for polyphagous predatory Carabidae. Ecol. Entomol. 13: 293-299 Go to original source...
  11. HATTEN T.D., BOSQUE-PEREZ N.A. & JOHNSON-MAYNARD J. 2007: Tillage differentially affects the capture rate of pitfall traps for three species of carabid beetles. Entomol. Exp. Appl. 124: 177-187 Go to original source...
  12. HONEK A. 1988: The effect of crop density and microclimate on pitfall trap catches of Carabidae, Staphylinidae (Coleoptera), and Lycosidae (Araneae) in cereal fields. Pedobiologia 32: 233-242
  13. HONEK A. 1997: The effect of temperature on the activity of Carabidae (Coleoptera) in a fallow field. Eur. J. Entomol. 94: 97-104
  14. HURKA A. 1996: Carabidae of the Czech and Slovak Republics. Kabourek, Zlin, 565 pp
  15. LANGE M., GOSSNER M.M. & WEISSER W.W. 2011: Effect of pitfall trap type and diameter on vertebrate by-catches and ground beetle (Coleoptera: Carabidae) and spider (Araneae) sampling. Method. Ecol. Evol. 2: 185-190 Go to original source...
  16. LEMIEUX J.P. & LINDGREN B.S. 1999: A pitfall trap for largescale trapping of Carabidae: Comparison against conventional design, using two different preservatives. Pedobiologia 43: 245-253
  17. LEPS J. & SMILAUER P. 2003: Multivariate Analysis of Ecological Data Using CANOCO. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 269 pp
  18. LUFF M.L. 1975: Some features influencing efficiency of pitfall traps. Oecologia 19: 345-357 Go to original source...
  19. MOMMERTZ S., SCHAUER C., KOSTERS N., LANG A. & FILSER J. 1996: A comparison of D-Vac suction, fenced and unfenced pitfall trap sampling of epigeal arthropods in agroecosystems. Ann. Zool. Fenn. 33: 117-124
  20. OBRIST M.K. & DUELLI P. 1996: Trapping efficiency of funneland cup-traps for epigeal arthropods. Mitt. Schw. Entomol. Ges. 69: 361-369
  21. OKSANEN J., BLANCHET F.G., KINDT R., LEGENDRE P., O'HARA R.B., SIMPSON G.L., SOLYMOS P., STEVENS M.H.H. & WAGNER H. 2010: Vegan: Community Ecology Package. Version 1.17-10. Available at http://vegan.r-forge.r-project.org/
  22. PEKAR S. 1996: A laboratory study of the efficiency and attractiveness of pitfall traps for Pardosa agrestis (Aranea). Acta Soc. Zool. Bohem. 60: 191-197
  23. PEKAR S. 2002: Differential effects of formaldehyde concentration and detergent on the catching efficiency of surface active arthropods by pitfall traps. Pedobiologia 46: 539-547 Go to original source...
  24. R DEVELOPMENT CORE TEAM 2010: A Language and Environment for Statistical Computing. Available at http://www. R-project.org
  25. SCHIRMEL J., LENZE S., KATZMANN D. & BUCHHOLZ S. 2010: Capture efficiency of pitfall traps is highly affected by sampling interval. Entomol. Exp. Appl. 136: 206-210 Go to original source...
  26. SOUTHWOOD T.R.E. 1994: Ecological Methods: With Particular Reference to the Study of Insect Populations. Chapman & Hall, London, 524 pp
  27. SPENCE J.R. & NIEMELA J.K. 1994: Sampling carabid assemblages with pitfall traps - the madness and the method. Can. Entomol. 126: 881-894 Go to original source...
  28. TER BRAAK C.J.F. & SMILAUER P. 2002: CANOCO Reference Manual and CanoDraw for Windows User's Guide: Software for Canonical Community Ordination (version 4.5). Microcomputer Power, Ithaca, NY, 500 pp
  29. THOMAS C.F.G., BROWN N.J. & KENDALL D.A. 2006: Carabid movement and vegetation density: Implications for interpreting pitfall trap data from split-field trials. Agr. Ecosyst. Environ. 113: 51-61 Go to original source...
  30. TOPPING C.J. & SUNDERLAND K.D. 1992: Limitations to the use of pitfall traps in ecological-studies exemplified by a study of spiders in a field of winter-wheat. J. Appl. Ecol. 29: 485-491 Go to original source...
  31. TROPEK R., KADLEC T., KARESOVA P., SPITZER L., KOCAREK P., MALENOVSKY I., BANAR P., TUF I.H., HEJDA M. & KONVICKA M. 2010: Spontaneous succession in limestone quarries as an effective restoration tool for endangered arthropods and plants. J. Appl. Ecol. 47: 139-147 Go to original source...
  32. WEEKS R.D. & MCINTYRE N.E. 1997: A comparison of live versus kill pitfall trapping techniques using various killing agents. Entomol. Exp. Appl. 82: 267-273 Go to original source...
  33. WHITE G.C. & BENNETTS R.E. 1996: Analysis of frequency count data using the negative binomial distribution. Ecology 77: 2549-2557 Go to original source...
  34. WORK T.T., BUDDLE C.M., KORINUS L.M. & SPENCE J.R. 2002: Pitfall trap size and capture of three taxa of litter-dwelling arthropods: Implications for biodiversity studies. Environ. Entomol. 31: 438-448 Go to original source...