As part of regional biological surveys 51 sites were established in the rangelands of western New South Wales, Australia. To investigate the impacts of pit size, drift fence material and fence configuration on capture rates small vertebrates each site consisted of two 20 l bucket traps with two configurations of flyscreen drift fences (transparent), two PVC pipe traps with the same two configurations of fencing, and two PVC pipe traps with dampcourse (opaque) in the same two configurations. PVC pipe traps caught more species and individuals than 20 l plastic buckets (41 versus 38 species, 232 versus 208 captures, respectively when pooled across the two fence configurations using flyscreen). Four fences radiating in a cross pattern from a pit caught 41% more individuals, but not the number of species, compared to two radiating fences (463 versus 328 captures) when pooled across the two pit types and the two fence materials. Capture success was influenced by the fence material used, with mammals being more often captured when using flyscreen fences and reptiles more often when using dampcourse fences (28 versus 18 and 256 versus 283 captures, respectively). The arboreal skink Cryptoblepharus carnabyi showed the strongest difference in the number of captures between flyscreen (27 captures) and dampcourse (67 captures) when used in conjunction with PVC pipe. If a broad biological survey is to be undertaken then a mixture of pit sizes and fence materials is warranted within the survey design. If population studies are the primary concern, then consideration of the benefits of increased capture rates versus costs of installing additional fencing needs to be including in the planning of the field sampling.
Impacts of pit size, drift fence material and fence configuration on capture rates of small reptiles and mammals in the New South Wales rangelands
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Murray Ellis; Impacts of pit size, drift fence material and fence configuration on capture rates of small reptiles and mammals in the New South Wales rangelands. Australian Zoologist 1 January 2013; 36 (4): 404–412. doi: https://doi.org/10.7882/AZ.2013.005
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