Two designs of hypogean pitfall trap with differing sampling port areas: A comparison of their catch sizes, compositions and resultant biodiversity index scores.

Kevin Clemitshaw, Ian Sims, Anthony J Miller, Brian J Reid, Charles Marlow

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hypogean pitfall traps collect samples of under-ground soil dwelling invertebrates. The way that traps are deployed often results in disturbance of the surrounding soil profile. To avoid such soil disturbance, a new-style of hypogean pitfall trap (the "Fioratti trap") was produced. The new-style trap can be deployed by means of a soil corer or augur, inserting the trap directly into the hole. The total area of the sample ports for the new trap (100 cm2) is 20% that of the old 11 cm diameter trap, and thus smaller numbers of invertebrates are collected. These require less time to sort and identify. Ideally, trap design should not unduly influence the makeup of the resultant invertebrate samples it collects. To investigate this, the old and new designs of hypogean pitfall trap were deployed simultaneously on a field margin at Peartrees Field, Jealott’s Hill, Berkshire, and biodiversity indices calculated from the samples collected. While the new style traps collected a smaller number of specimens, they were observed to be obserrved to be 1.7 times more efficient (on a per area of soil sampled basist han the old-style traps. The lower number of individuals collected in the new-style traps resulted in a reduction in species richness. However, where aggregated non-metric dimensional scaling were computed the same shifts in community composition were detected by the two types of trap. Given the practical benefits associated with the new traps it is envisaged that the new design of pitfall trap is a good cacndidate for a standard device for sampling hypogean soil biota
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)117-130
Number of pages14
JournalBritish Journal of Entomology and Natural History
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2021


  • hypogean pitfall trap biodiversity idex

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