School of Earth, Environmental, and Marine Sciences Faculty Publications and Presentations

Can trap color affect arthropod community attraction in agroecosystems? A test using yellow vane and colorless traps

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Vane trapping is one of the most effective methods for sampling flower-visiting arthropods. Despite its importance in pollinator studies, the effects of trap color on the abundance and richness of pollinators are less understood. To test this, we conducted a 3-season field experiment over 2 years with two types of vane traps: yellow and colorless. We set up twelve traps each in three field sites within the Lower Rio Grande Valley in south Texas, planted with Vigna unguiculata, Crotalaria juncea, Raphanus raphanistrum, and Sorghum drummondii. At each site, six colorless vane and six yellow vane traps were placed equidistant from each other. The experiment was replicated three times across three seasons, first during the pre-flowering season, when the crops were in full bloom, and when there was no crop on the field. In total, we collected 1912 insects, out of which 76.7% were pollinators. Generalized Linear Regression analyses showed that yellow traps consistently attracted significantly more arthropods and pollinators, but these differences were also season dependent. Furthermore, we noticed that Hymenoptera, followed by Coleoptera, were the most prevalent orders in both the yellow vane and colorless vane traps. Interestingly, although there was no significant difference in species richness of the arthropods in the yellow and colorless vane traps, our results suggest that trap color plays a significant role in capturing pollinators, including non-target arthropods. Our data add another line of evidence suggesting that trap color should be accounted for designing experiments that estimate pollinator and arthropod community diversity.


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Environ Monit Assess