Journal of Insect Conservation

, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 3-20

First online:

Toward an optimal sampling protocol for Hemiptera on understorey plants

  • Melinda L. MoirAffiliated withDepartment of Environmental Biology, Curtin University of Technology Email author 
  • , Karl E.C. BrennanAffiliated withDepartment of Environmental Biology, Curtin University of Technology
  • , Jonathan D. MajerAffiliated withDepartment of Environmental Biology, Curtin University of Technology
  • , Murray J. FletcherAffiliated withOrange Agricultural Institute
  • , John M. KochAffiliated withAlcoa World Alumina Australia

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There are no standardised sampling protocols for inventorying Hemiptera from understorey or canopy plants. This paper proposes an optimal protocol for the understorey, after evaluating the efficiency of seven methods to maximise the richness of Hemiptera collected from plants with minimal field and laboratory time. The methods evaluated were beating, chemical knockdown, sweeping, branch clipping, hand collecting, vacuum sampling and sticky trapping. These techniques were tested at two spatial scales: 1 ha sites and individual plants. In addition, because efficiency may differ with vegetation structure, sampling of sites was conducted in three disparate understorey habitats, and sampling of individual plants was conducted across 33 plant species. No single method sampled the majority of hemipteran species in the understorey. Chemical knockdown, vacuum sampling and beating yielded speciose samples (61, 61 and 30 species, respectively, representing 53, 53 and 26% of total species collected). The four remaining methods provided species-poor samples (<18 species or <16% of total species collected). These methods also had biases towards particular taxa (e.g., branch clipping and hand collecting targeted sessile Hemiptera, and sticky trapping were dominated by five species of Psyllidae). The most time-efficient methods were beating, sweeping and hand collecting (200 minutes of field and laboratory time yielded >7 species for each technique). By comparison, vacuum sampling, sticky trapping, branch clipping and chemical knockdown yielded <5 species for the same period. Chemical knockdown had further disadvantages; high financial cost and potential spray drift. The most effective methods for a standardised sampling protocol to inventory Hemiptera from the understorey are beating and vacuum sampling. If used in combination, these methods optimise the catch of understorey hemipteran species, as their samples have high complementarity.


Chemical knockdown Inventorying biodiversity Sampling methods Vacuum sampling