Document Type

Peer-Review Article


Relatively few studies in temperate environments have compared pitfall traps and Winkler litter samples, two of the most commonly used ant (Formicidae) sampling protocols. Most of the comparative work has been performed in tropical and subtropical environments. Temperate studies have primarily taken place in forested environments. Our study focuses on the relative efficiency of these two methods in temperate oak savannas, the major ecotone connecting grasslands and deciduous forest in the Midwest. These environments are often maintained by fire and mechanical brush removal, which tends to decrease the amount of available leaf litter. We sampled 21 sites, varying in age since restoration from un-restored to 22 years of restoration activities in McHenry Co. Illinois. Each site was sampled with 30 pitfall traps and five Winkler litter samples. A total of 38 species in 17 genera in 5 subfamilies were captured and identified. Pitfall traps accounted for 37 of the species, while Winkler litter samples only captured 23 species, and only one species specific to that method. We conclude that in northern temperate savannas, pitfall traps were more effective and more efficient at characterizing the epigeic ant community than Winkler litter samples.

Included in

Entomology Commons