Epigeal arthropods constitute the bulk of herbivore, predator, and decomposer species in soil and litter ecosystems. Being small and difficult to observe within these sometimes densely vegetated habitats, they are inherently difficult to sample quantitatively. Further, most methods have inherent taxon, life-stage, and habitat biases, making biodiversity and other community-wide sampling problematic. Quadrat methods can be quantitative but may undercount active taxa and only work in the structurally simplest habitats. Mark-and-recapture and trapping-out methods can yield defensible quantitative estimates but are not practicable for multispecies sampling. This leaves only flooding the habitat and collecting every animal thus dislodged, an expensive and difficult expedient. Pitfall traps are inexpensive and easily deployed, but they are not quantitative. When used intensively for a sufficiently long period of time, however, they can support reliable estimates of the total number of species and other biodiversity indices. Nevertheless there are technical problems associated with the use of pitfalls, including susceptibility to precipitation and flooding, lack of simple methods to close the traps between collecting intervals, and threats to the integrity of the trapping site. Described herein is an inexpensive, permanent pitfall station that shelters the trap from precipitation and flooding, can be securely closed during inactive periods, and can remain in place indefinitely without damage to the site.

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