Canadian Forest Service Publications

An efficient pit-light trap to study beetle diversity. 2000. Hébert, C.; Jobin, L.J.; Fréchette, M.; Pelletier, G.; Coulombe, C.; Germain, C.; Auger, M. Journal of Insect Conservation 4: 191-202.

Year: 2000

Issued by: Laurentian Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 20463

Language: English

Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)

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A new, highly efficient pit-light trap is described and results of experiments on its efficacy that were carried out in various types of forests are presented. The Luminocr insect trap is made of two parts: a 1-L collection container inserted into the ground and an upper container which houses a 6-V lantern battery and a circuit for electronic control of a 1.8-W miniature fluorescent tube. A cover is fixed under the upper container to prevent rainwater from entering the collection container. The pit-light trap caught significantly more specimens, species and families of Coleoptera than passive pitfall traps. Many species of common families, such as Carabidae, Cantharidae, Curculionidae, Elateridae, Pyrochroidae, Scarabaeidae, Silphidae and Tenebrionidae were mainly caught in pit-light traps. Several species of uncommon families such as Byrrhidae, Melandryidae, Scraptiidae, Stenotrachelidae and Throscidae were caught only in pit-light traps. The light source increases the sampling area of a trap to include many micro-habitats, which makes pit-light traps more efficient tools that provide less variable results than the passive pitfall traps. The use of only three pit-light traps allows the capture of three times more ‘abundant and common’ species than any number of passive pitfall traps could provide. Thus, the pit-light trap allows an easier and more accurate characterization of Coleoptera communities than the passive pitfall trap. Because of its high efficacy, the pit-light trap should be considered as a standard tool to study, monitor and inventory beetle diversity.