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  • John R. Spence (a1) and Jari K. Niemelä (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 May 2012

We describe a litter-washing technique for collecting quantitative samples of ground-beetles (Carabidae), and compare the results with those from liner extraction by Tullgren funnels and pitfall (rapping. We also compare performance of four types of pitfall traps across five habitats. Carabid species composition from litter washing and funnel extraction was similar but washing revealed higher densities. Large-bodied species predominated in pitfall samples and small-bodied species predominated in litter samples. Uncovered, round pitfall traps yielded generally higher catches than rectangular or covered, round traps but the pattern was not consistent over all species or the five habitats. Ecological studies of carabid populations and assemblages using pitfall traps may be improved if they are both designed and interpreted in light of the biology of the group and with regard to the deficiencies of pitfall trapping as discussed here and elsewhere.


Nous décrivons ici une méthode quantitative de récolte des carabes (Carabidae) par lavage de la litière et comparons les résultats avec ceux obtenus par extraction au moyen d’entonnoirs Tullgren ou ceux obtenus dans des pièges à fosses. Nous comparons également la performance de quatre types de pièges à fosses en cinq habitats. La composition en espèces de carabes obtenue par lavage de la litière ou celle obtenue par extraction au moyen d’un entonnoir sont semblables, mais le lavage permet d’obtenir des densités plus fortes. Les espèces à corps de grande taille prédominent dans les échantillons récoltés dans les pièges à fosses, alors que les petites espèces dominent dans les échantillons récoltés dans la litière. Les pièges à fosses ronds, découverts, permettent généralement des récoltes plus importantes que les pièges rectangulaires ou les pièges ronds couverts, mais ce n’est pas toujours le cas pour toutes les espèces ou dans les cinq habitats. Les études écologiques des populations et associations de carabes au moyen de pièges à fosses peuvent être raffinées si elles sont conçues et interprétées à la lumière de la biologie du groupe en tenant compte des faiblesses des pièges à fosses telles qu’elles sont décrites ici et dans d’autres articles.

[Traduit par la Rédaction]

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C.J. Topping , and K.D. Sunderland . 1992. Limitations to the use of pitfall traps in ecological studies exemplified by a study of spiders in a field of winter wheat. Journal of Applied Ecology 29: 485491.

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