Neotropical Entomology

, Volume 48, Issue 1, pp 50–56 | Cite as

Optimized Pitfall Trap Design for Collecting Terrestrial Insects (Arthropoda: Insecta) in Biodiversity Studies

  • V Costa-SilvaEmail author
  • M D Grella
  • P J Thyssen
Ecology, Behavior and Bionomics


Pitfall traps are commonly used for the collection of terrestrial insects in ecology and biology studies; they are relatively straightforward to manufacture and there is a large variety of models described in the literature. However, they present a few drawbacks: (i) the removal and transport of the collected material are not practical; (ii) they have low resistance and durability; (iii) they fail to correctly protect the attractive bait against adverse weather conditions and scavengers, and (iv) evaporation of the liquid used inside the trap. We proposed an optimized pitfall trap design for terrestrial insect collection made from cheap and easily accessible materials. The new design allows the transfer of the collected material to the lab by removing only that part of the trap where the insects have been captured; the other part remains in its original place. Thus, the proposed trap allows easier operation since there is no need to transport water to replenish the traps after each transfer; in addition, there is less volume and weight to be carried. The trap can remain in the field for months because of the durability of its material. Furthermore, the collected material is better protected against adverse weather conditions and scavengers. Currently, an efficient and rapid sampling strategy in the field is of global interest to understand mechanisms that can contribute to the monitor changes in phenology, succession, and biodiversity.


Sampling method survey entomology saprophagous diversity taxonomic impediment 



We are grateful to Marina F. K. Aquino, MsC (UNICAMP), for the schematic representations of the NTPs; to post-graduate students Cauê T. Mira and Natane C. S. Purgato (UNICAMP) for their effort in the assembly of the traps and field collections; to Dr. Pedro Giovâni da Silva (UFSC) for suggesting the collection design and help with the ecological indexes; to Dr. Décio A. Fonini Jr. for the critical revision of the manuscript; and last but not least to CAPES for scholarship to VCS and MDG. The authors are grateful to anonymous reviewers for all suggestions and corrections of this manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

All collections were authorized by the Brazilian Ministry of the Environment (MMA), through the Biodiversity Authorization and Information System (SISBIO), process number 55145-1.


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Copyright information

© Sociedade Entomológica do Brasil 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Lab of Integrative Entomology, Dept of Animal Biology, IBUniv of Campinas (UNICAMP)CampinasBrasil

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