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Are pan traps colors complementary to sample community of potential pollinator insects?


The global initiatives of monitoring and conserving pollinators require worldwide assessments with comparable data sets collected through standardized methods. The use of pan traps is a passive method widely applied to sample flower visitors, standing out for its simplicity. Despite its wide use to sample pollinator diversity, the influence of color on trap efficiency is not well understood. The available studies are particularly scarce in the tropics and have generated divergent results. The main goal of the present study was to assess whether blue, yellow and white pan traps are complementary to sample Hymenoptera community. For this, we placed 49 sample units of blue, white and yellow pan traps in agricultural and natural (savanna-like) areas in Chapada Diamantina, Bahia, Brazil. We found that the species richness from blue and yellow pan traps were not significantly different, but both were significantly greater than the species richness from white pan traps. However, bees were significantly more attracted to the blue pan traps and wasps to the yellow ones; thus, color attractiveness was group-specific. Pan traps of different color showed low species composition overlap with 61 % of species collected exclusively in one of the three pan trap colors, and the species composition in the blue traps differed consistently from that in the traps of the other colors. In the article we discuss the implication of the results and defend the combined use of pan traps with different colors as a solution for the differential variable sample bias.

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We thank the Higher Education Personnel Improvement Coordination (Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior, CAPES), National Council for Scientific and Technological Development, CNPq (Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico, CNPq), the Global Environmental Facility (GEF), the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) and the Brazilian Biodiversity Fund (Fundo Brasileiro para a Biodiversidade, FUNBIO) for the financial support. In addition we thank the team of the Laboratory of Biology and Ecology of Bees (Laboratório de Biologia e Ecologia de Abelhas LABEA), for their help during the fieldwork. We also thank the POLINFRUT network for their support and rich discussions. We gratefully acknowledge the essential taxonomic support given by Thiago Mahlmann, who assisted in bee identification.

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Correspondence to Eduardo Freitas Moreira.

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Moreira, E.F., Santos, R.L.d., Penna, U.L. et al. Are pan traps colors complementary to sample community of potential pollinator insects?. J Insect Conserv 20, 583–596 (2016).

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  • Color preference
  • Bees
  • Wasps
  • Insect vision
  • Monitoring of biodiversity
  • Neotropical savanna