Effects of pitfall lid transparency and habitat structure on the catches of carabid beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae) in an untamed pasture.

Bell, A., Phillips, I.D., Floate, K.D., Hoemsen, B.M., and Phillips, C.E. (2014). "Effects of pitfall lid transparency and habitat structure on the catches of carabid beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae) in an untamed pasture.", Environmental Entomology, 43(1), pp. 139-145. doi : 10.1603/EN13145  Access to full text

Abstract

Captures of insects in pitfall traps are affected by features of trap design that may confound the interpretation of data. One such feature is a lid suspended over the opening of the trap to exclude debris and rainwater. In this study, we tested whether use of these lids affected captures of carabid beetles by altering the light conditions at the opening to the trap. In one experiment, we examined the effects of lid transparency (opaque, semitransparent, or transparent) on catch rates. In a second experiment, we manipulated the heights (high, medium, or low) of vegetation adjacent to the traps to test for lid transparency and vegetation height interactions. We found that significantly more carabids were captured with use of transparent lids compared with other lid transparencies. Fewest Agonum cupreum Dejean, 1831, were captured with use of opaque lids. No other effects were detected. Given these results, we advocate the use of transparent lids, which provide the benefits of traditional opaque lids while minimizing the effects of lid use on light conditions at the opening to the trap.

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