Inventory and bioindicator sampling: Testing pitfall and winkler methods with ants in a South African savanna

C. T. Parr, S. L. Chown

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The sampling efficiency and consistency of pitfall traps and Winkler samples for inventory, bioindicator and ecological studies in savanna habitats was compared using ants. Pitfall traps are often used for ant collecting while Winkler litter sampling has until now had rather limited use. We test Winkler sampling for the first time in a South African savanna. Pitfall traps were more efficient and productive than Winkler sampling for epigaeic ants, with a greater total species richness and higher abundance of ants recorded. Winkler samples contributed few additional species. The relative abundance of different sized ants was different with the two collection methods. Winkler sampling was found to catch greater numbers of smaller ants than pitfall trapping, whereas pitfall trapping caught more larger ants. The standard collecting Winkler quadrat size of 1 m2 did not perform as well as 2 x 1/2 m2 quadrats combined for one sample.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-36
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Insect Conservation
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jun 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Ants
  • Pitfall sampling
  • Savanna
  • Species accumulation curves
  • Winkler method

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