Comparing the effectiveness of pitfall traps and active sampling methods for ants and spiders in a Chromolaena odorata invaded site




Aerial hand collection techniques, Pitfall traps, Bush beating, Biodiversity, Chromolaena odorata, Ant, Spider


Background: Active and passive arthropod sampling techniques have their specific limitations. Pitfall trapping is a commonly used passive sampling method, and bush beating, aerial hand collection above the knee, aerial hand collection below the knee cryptic and non-cryptic are widely used active sampling techniques.

Objective and method: Pitfall traps and four active sampling techniques were used in a Chromolaena odorata invaded site to compare the methods used in sampling arthropods in Buffelsdraai Conservancy outside the city of Durban, South Africa.

Results: Pitfall traps were the most efficient and the most effective sampling technique with high species richness for both the ant (78%) and spider (76%) samples. One explanation for these differences could be the longer sampling time for passive sampling compared to active sampling.

Conclusion: Compared to the subjective identification of species by collectors in active techniques, the non-selective capturing of species by pitfall traps improves its efficiency. The fewest taxa and individuals were collected by aerial hand collection techniques but these techniques are recommended to supplement pitfall traps. The combination of methods allows for the adequate sampling of the various strata found in vegetatively complex sites. An investigation into the possible use of canopy techniques in C. odorata sites would be beneficial, as it considers the various vegetation strata when sampling for biodiversity.


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Author Biography

Dr. Munyai, University of KwaZulu-Natal

Dr Caswell Munyai is a Senior Lecturer teaching and conducting research on invertebrate biology and an NRF-rated scientist with almost a decade experience in teaching and research in the discipline.

He has published various peer-review research articles both in national and international journals and has presented over 90 papers in both local and international conferences.

Dr Munyai has successfully supervised (to completion) eleven Honours, fifteen MSc and two PhD students between 2016 and 2021. His lab conducts research in various invertebrate biology topics including community ecology, the impacts of alien invasive plants and their biological control. Most of his students are now documenting biodiversity response to land-use change and related effects across South Africa.

Dr Munyai has contributed to studies documenting diversity patterns along elevational gradients across the world and more recently he has had a keen interest in Entomophagy in Africa.


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How to Cite

Lauchande, V., Mntambo, S., Hlongwane, Z., & Munyai, T. . C. (2024). Comparing the effectiveness of pitfall traps and active sampling methods for ants and spiders in a Chromolaena odorata invaded site. Bothalia, African Biodiversity & Conservation, 54(1).



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