Trap color and placement affects estimates of insect family-level abundance and diversity in a Nebraska salt marsh


* (E-mail:


Sampling programs to establish baseline ecosystem information (e.g., species abundance and diversity) often fail to consider the potential influence of sampling techniques on results. Research on sampling economically important insects has demonstrated the possible influences of trap color and trap placement on results, but few data have been collected from natural environments. Consequently, we examined the effects of color (yellow and blue) and placement (exposed and shaded by plants) of sticky traps on insect captures and diversity estimates from a Nebraska inland salt marsh community. We identified 1913 specimens from 67 insect families collected during five trapping dates in July 1996. More Cicindelidae were collected on exposed traps, and more Staphylinidae, Dolichopodidae, Cicadellidae, and Thripidae were collected on shaded traps. More Dolichopodidae were collected on yellow traps, while more Syrphidae and Thripidae were collected on blue. Shannon and alpha diversity measures were significantly higher for shaded traps than exposed traps, but were not affected by trap color. Our results highlight the importance of characterizing sampling techniques when establishing diversity estimates. These data provide the first complete accounting of community-level insect response to colored sticky traps and provide new information for color preference of non-economic insect species.