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Pitfall Trap

Pitfall Trap
Good Samaritan Village, Baxter County, Arkansas, USA
August 15, 2007
Size: 7'x6'
Here's a pitfall trap I threw together really quickly with supplies from Wal-Mart when I was staying with my granddad in Arkansas this past week. The walls are there to funnel insects into the cups, which are filled with antifreeze to kill and temporarily preserve the specimens. The rings over the cups are an effort to keep dogs, deer, or armadillos from drinking the antifreeze and dying. I didn't include a traditional rainguard in this plan because rain wasn't in the forecast, it was only going to be up for 3 days, and I could easily disassemble this in the case of rain. I only left the trap up for about three days, but I got 2 mutillids (which was the main goal), several roaches and spiders, a few skippers and small fritillaries, and countless ants and tiny things.

I owe most of the ideas used in this trap to Greg Cowper and Jason Weintraub of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia.

no beetles? I'd think you would have trapped a couple :-) It looks like a good design.

Haha yea, I would have though
Haha yea, I would have thought so too, but I didn't get any beetles bigger than 5mm. I DO have lots of little stuff to sort through though, and I'm sure there's a few micro-beetles in there. The trap was only up for a few days though, and I guess I'm just lucky I got what I came for. Still, I know this type of wall-and-pitfall design is being used very successfully at the Franklin Parker Preserve in the Pine Barrens of NJ

To me,
the tiny ones are the most interesting because they offer the greatest probability of being new (for me) taxa or even state/regional/national/continental records. Plus there are definitely undescribed species out there among the small fry overlooked by many collectors. Also, for me, tiny starts somewhere under 2mm :-)

Haha touche
Yeah, I completely understand that sentiment. Same with mutillids -- when I ask laypeople about them they only ever know/like the big cow killer (D. occidentalis). And sure it's pretty, but I'm looking at a publication right now that's describing a very new genus (Chilemutilla, from Chile) of apterous males and females that measure only 5mm. And while that may not be tiny in your book, I still think that's amazing, just like you said. :)

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