Evaluating potential sources of variation in Chironomidae catch rates on sticky traps

Marine and Freshwater Research
By: , and 



Sticky traps are a convenient tool for assessing adult aquatic insect population dynamics, but there are many practical questions about how trap sampling artefacts may affect observed results. Utilising study sites on the Colorado River and two smaller streams in northern Arizona, USA, we evaluated whether catch rates and sex ratios of Chironomidae, a ubiquitous aquatic insect, were affected by spraying traps with insecticide, placing traps at different heights above ground, and placing traps at different locations within a terrestrial habitat patch. We also evaluated temporal variation in Chironomidae counts monthly over a 9-month growing season. We found no significant variation in catch rates or sex ratios between traps treated versus untreated with insecticide, nor between traps placed at the upstream or downstream end of a terrestrial habitat patch. Traps placed near ground level did have significantly higher catch rates than traps placed at 1.5 m, although sex ratios were similar across heights. Chironomidae abundance and sex ratios also varied from month-to-month and seemed to be related to climatic conditions. Our results inform future sticky trap studies by demonstrating that trap height, but not insecticide treatment or precise trap placement within a habitat patch, is an important source of variation influencing catch rates.

Study Area

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Evaluating potential sources of variation in Chironomidae catch rates on sticky traps
Series title Marine and Freshwater Research
DOI 10.1071/MF15189
Volume 67
Issue 12
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization
Publisher location East Melbourne, Australia
Contributing office(s) Southwest Biological Science Center
Description 4 p.
First page 1987
Last page 1990
Country United States
State Arizona
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
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