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Techniques and Methods 2ľA5

U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY
Chapter 5 of
Section A, Biological Science
Book 2, Collection of Environmental Data

Herpetological Monitoring Using a Pitfall Trapping Design in Southern California

By Robert Fisher, Drew Stokes, Carlton Rochester, Cheryl Brehme, and Stacie Hathaway, U.S. Geological Survey; and Ted Case, University of California

Cover Photo

Abstract

The steps necessary to conduct a pitfall trapping survey for small terrestrial vertebrates are presented. Descriptions of the materials needed and the methods to build trapping equipment from raw materials are discussed. Recommended data collection techniques are given along with suggested data fields. Animal specimen processing procedures, including toe- and scale-clipping, are described for lizards, snakes, frogs, and salamanders. Methods are presented for conducting vegetation surveys that can be used to classify the environment associated with each pitfall trap array. Techniques for data storage and presentation are given based on commonly use computer applications. As with any study, much consideration should be given to the study design and methods before beginning any data collection effort.

Contents

Abstract
Introduction
Background and Justification
Array Design
Array Materials and Trap Construction
Array Installation
Array Operation
Survey Data Management
Acknowledgments
References Cited
Appendix 1. Materials and supplies needed to build, maintain, and sample a pitfall trapping array.
Appendix 2. Species codes and abbreviatoins.

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Send questions or comments about this report to the author, R.N. Fisher, (619) 225-6422.

For more information about USGS scientific research at the Western Ecological Research Center, visit the USGS Western Ecological Research Center home page.

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