The adequacy of collecting techniques for estimating species richness of grassland invertebrates.
There is still considerable debate about the most effective methods of sampling invertebrates in monitoring and assessment programmes. The above-ground invertebrates of a limestone grassland in north-east England were compared between samples from pitfall traps and from a D-vac suction trap combined with a lightweight swish net (SW/DV). Over 14 000 individuals were captured, with similar numbers in the pitfall and SW/DV samples. A total of 480 species of Hemiptera, Coleoptera, Diptera and Araneae was identified and placed into 14 taxa for further analysis. The pitfall sample produced species/specimen curves from which it was possible to estimate species richness for all the Coleoptera and Araneae taxa and the calypterate Schizophora. The SW/DV sample was adequate to estimate the species richness of Hemiptera, most Diptera taxa, herbivorous Coleoptera and Linyphiidae. The proportion of Coleoptera and Araneae taxa that were method-unique was higher in the pitfall sample than the SW/DV sample and vice versa for the Hemiptera and Diptera taxa. Nevertheless, a relatively high proportion of method-unique species of most taxa was found in both sample types, indicating that they can each contribute to assessing species assemblages in grasslands. Both pitfall traps and SW/DV samples are needed to estimate species richness in grasslands for all taxa except Heteroptera, Homoptera and Lycosidae. Herbivorous Coleoptera and Linyphiidae were collected in numbers adequate for assessing richness in both sample types, but more specimens were required in one or other sample for the remaining taxa.