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Aquatic Sampling- Bottle traps

Aquatic Sampling- Bottle traps
Calgary, Alberta, Canada
Bottle trapping is an effective method used in capturing/collecting larger aquatic beetles, primarily dytiscids and hydrophilids. Many of these beetles are strong swimmers and especially the large ones (Dytiscus, Cybister, Hydrophilus, and others), can easily evade a dipnet.
A bottle trap is quite simple to make and requires the following materials:
1) An empty soda bottle (1-4 L is ideal)
2) tape, staplers, or other appropriate sealing material (eg. silicone)
3) string and a float
4) bait (optional)- usually pieces of meat or fish
5) scissors/pen knife
1) Trim the top 1/3 of the bottle off (down to the shoulders), invert the top and nest it in the bottom 2/3s of the bottle
2) Using an appropriate sealant, tape, or staplers, attach the inverted top to the rest of the bottle
3) tie one end of the string around the bottle and the other around a float (in this case, an empty, closed, plastic tube was used); ensure that there is sufficient distance between the trap and the float such that the float stays on the water surface and the trap stays on the bottom substrate.
4) Place the bait in the trap
And done! Now off to the pond (see other images for further explanations).

Images of this individual: tag all
Aquatic Sampling- Bottle traps Aquatic Sampling- Bottle traps Aquatic Sampling- Bottle traps Aquatic Sampling- Bottle traps Aquatic Sampling- Bottle traps

I'm wanting to give this a tr
I'm wanting to give this a try but have a couple of questions. I don't see a killing agent listed. Are you live trapping? If so how do you keep the large ones from eating the small ones?

And is this a intended as a one-time use?

When placed in the water, is it to be standing upright or laying on its side?

Hi Tim -- Your trap looks great. I'm definitely going to check it out. As for bait -- I recently received in the mail a small, inexpensive ($9.00) device designed for fisherman. It's intended to be tied to a fishing line or lure. When it is submerged in water, it emits pulses of UV light. I'm thinking that this might be an effective way to lure aquatics into your trap. I'm also thinking that it might work best if used with a clear-plastic bottle. I'm thinking such an underwater UV light trap might attract a wide range of aquatics. What do you think? Also, I'm inclined to use a larger bottle. (Originally, I was planning to jury-rig an underwater UV trap using fiberglass screen door material and a section of garden hose formed into a hoop and filled with sand to make it sink. After attaching the fiberglass material to the hoop to effectively form a net, I'd then fix the UV light to the bottom of the netting and lower the hoop-trap into the water on cordage, to which I'd have attached a float. I would just let the hoop sit on the for a few hours with the UV light pulsing away, then pull up the hoop, along with any animal inside the netting. The problem is that if, say, a turtle wound up in the trap, it would destroy the trap while being retrieved.) -- Dave

UV light
That could be another option as well. A modified version of this strategy would be to use a light stick placed inside the bottle and leaving it overnight.
So far I've found, though baiting is effective, it attracts unwanted critters such as leeches, which can clog up the opening of the trap (those things are also hard to remove as they cling tight!). It may not be a bad thing if you don't care what's going in (leeches are good fish bait) but if you are targetting insects, they can be a nuisance.

Well, I guess I'll give it a
Well, I guess I'll give it a shot and see what happens. Thanks. -- Dave

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