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  • 1 Aarhus University, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, Flakkebjerg Research Centre Department of Integrated Pest Management 4200 Slagelse Denmark
  • 2 Hortobágy National Park Directorate Debrecen POB. 216 H-4002 Hungary
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Sampling effort in pitfall trapping sessions is routinely calculated as a product of trap numbers and time period, expressed in units of trap-days or trap-weeks. This assumes that these two components contribute equally to the catch, so that the catch from 2n traps run for z days should be equivalent to the catch of n traps run for 2z days. We tested this equivalence relationship by comparing two pitfall trapping sessions, representing an identical trapping effort, performed in the same habitat (an apple orchard in Hungary), using the same pitfall trapping arrangement. The Time Series session had 20 traps operating for 20 weeks (400 trap-weeks), while the Spatial Series session had 100 traps operating for 4 weeks (400 trap-weeks). The Time Series session caught 1265 individuals of 44 species, while the Spatial Series session had fewer (757) individuals but 52 species. The virtual structure of the two carabid assemblages was different, although the major species were the same. Rarefaction curves clearly show that the Spatial Series indicated the presence of a significantly more species-rich ground beetle assemblage than the Time Series. The “common currency” for trapping effort needs to be re-examined because its two components, number of traps and length of operation do not contribute to the final catch in the same way. This has an important consequence for the design of biodiversity monitoring: trapping effort allocation for monitoring may be better when the number of traps is at the possible maximum and the time of sampling shortened rather than the other way around.

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