Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Using Malaise traps to sample ground beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae)

Informally Refereed
Authors: Michael D. Ulyshen, James L. Hanula, Scott Horn
Year: 2005
Type: Scientific Journal
Station: Southern Research Station
Source: Can. Entomol. 137: 251­256 (2005)


Pitfall traps provide an easy and inexpensive way to sample ground-dwelling arthropods (Spence and Niemela 1994; Spence et al. 1997; Abildsnes and Tommeras 2000) and have been used exclusively in many studies of the abundance and diversity of ground beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae). Despite the popularity of this trapping technique, pitfall traps have many disadvantages. For example, they often fail to collect both small (Spence and Niemela 1994) and "trap-shy" species (Benest 1989), eventually deplete the local carabid population (Digweed et al. 1995), require a species to be ground-dwelling in order to be captured (Liebherr and Mahar 1979), and produce different results depending on trap diameter and material, type of preservative used, and trap placement (Greenslade 1964; Luff 1975; Work et al. 2002). Further complications arise from seasonal patterns of movement among the beetles themselves (Maelfait and Desender 1990), as well as numerous climatic factors, differences in plant cover, and variable surface conditions (Adis 1979).


Ulyshen, Michael D.; Hanula, James L.; Horn, Scott. 2005. Using Malaise traps to sample ground beetles (Coleoptera: Carabidae). Can. Entomol. 137: 251 256 (2005)