Canadian Forest Service Publications
Pitfall trap designs to maximize invertebrate captures and minimize captures of nontarget vertebrates. 2005. Pearce, J.L.; Schuurman, D.; Barber, K.N.; Larrivée, M.; Venier, L.A.; McKee, J.E.; McKenney, D.W. The Canadian Entomologist 137: 233 - 250.
Issued by: Great Lakes Forestry Centre
Catalog ID: 28802
Availability: PDF (request by e-mail)
Pitfall traps containing a preservative have become the standard method of sampling for epigeal invertebrates such as carabid beetles and cursorial spiders. However, they often result in high levels of mortality for small mammals and amphibians. We compared the carabid, spider, and vertebrate captures within five pitfall trap types (conventional trap, funnel trap, shallow trap, Nordlander trap, and the ramp trap) to determine the trap type that would reduce vertebrate incidental catch without compromising the capture of invertebrates. We also examined the effect of a mesh screen over pitfall traps on carabid beetle and vertebrate catches. All modifications to the conventional trap design resulted in a reduction in both small mammal and amphibian captures. The shallow pitfall trap and the funnel trap captured a carabid beetle and spider fauna similar to that captured by the conventional trap. The species compositions of the ramp trap and the Nordlander trap were different from those of the other trap types, but these traps were more efficient, capturing more species per individual captured. The ramp trap appeared to be the method of choice for sampling epigeal spiders. Thus, the choice among trap designs for invertebrates depends on the objectives of the study. However, an alternative to the conventional trap design should always be considered to reduce small mammal mortality