Malaise traps are a common tool for collecting insects used by many researchers. Although there have been variations in the models and materials used for Malaise traps, the potential for sampling bias due to mesh gague has been explored inadequately. This study compared coarse and fine mesh Townes model Malaise traps in two habitats on the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. The two habitats next to the Lick Wash trailhead were defined by dominant vegetation type – sagebrush and grasses or Piñon-Juniper. We collected from three sites per habitat type, over three consecutive days in June in both 2006 and 2007. A pair of Malaise traps consisting of one coarse mesh and one fine mesh trap were used at each site in order to compare differences in the diversity and in the average size of individuals collected by each type of Malaise trap. We measured diversity using both presence-absence data such as richness scores and Jaccard's Index of Similarity, and abundance-based measures of comparison, including Simpson's Index of Diversity and non-metric multidimensional scaling. We identified all individuals according to Order, and because of our interest in flies and their abundance, we further identified the Dipter ta to the Family level. Average insect size was determined by categorizing individuals according to one of 14 distinct size-classes. In sum, 71 samples totaling approximately 62,500 insects were identified and sized. Because we sampled from two adjacent habitats, we also discuss beta diversity across the sample sites. Although mesh-size appears to have a significant effect on the diversity of the catch according to some tests, not all of our analysis agrees. In addition, the gain in the amount of diversity collected by incorporating both mesh-sizes may not be worth the costs of that kind of sampling. Other means of collection may adequately make up that difference. Habitat on the other hand was a clear marker for difference in diversity. Size was not found to be significant overall, but there still may be reasons to examine the effect of mesh-size with respect to the Hymenoptera.



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Life Sciences; Biology



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Malaise Traps, Sampling Bias, Insects, Diptera (Flies), Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument, Utah, Body size, richness, abundance, Similarity Indices, Simpson's Index of Diveristy, Jaccard's Index, beta diversity

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