Nevada carabids: Part 3: Trap Day

See also Part 1 & Part 2

Day 3 – June 11, 2015 [by Riva Madan & Frank Hsu]

Morning breaks in Nevada.

Morning breaks in Nevada.

        Sunrise!! And we got little sleep since the water kept dripping on us inside the tent. On further inspection we found that we actually mounted the rain shield wrong and the shield was actually touching the top of the tent so the water was wicked right through. After more or less drying off our gear and re-erecting the tent with Kip’s help, our first order of business was to set up light traps that might capture night- flying carabids and other insects. We set up three UV-light traps, one each at Baker Lake Trail, Grey Cliffs, and Lehman Creek. The killing agent used to poison the insects worried us a bit, but Kip always handled that stuff. Ironically, the concentration of the killing agent wasn’t even doing a good job at killing insects that flew into the traps. That ends up being a problem, when big moths get in the trap and flap around,  shedding moth scales onto everything.  After getting the light trap set up, we deployed our ramp traps at various locations and different elevations.

Putting out ramp traps. A kind of no-dig pitfall trap.

Putting out ramp traps. A kind of no-dig pitfall trap.

We laid out our handcrafted pipette-box-ramp traps at Snake Creek, along NF road 446, near the Strawberry Creek trailhead and down in Osceola ditch trail. At the NF road 446 site, Kip found a deer skull that had been picked clean by insects and other animals.  We were surprised at how white and clean the skull looked. After the ramp traps were put out, we started to dig holes and put in pitfall traps. The day was going smoothly up until this point, but then massive grey cloud began to displace the open blue sky. What was a nice sunny afternoon took a turn for the worse when sheets of rain began dousing the forest, filling and flooding some of the pitfall traps that we had carefully filled with propylene glycol.

Pitfall trap location along Strawberry Creek. It's getting ready to rain on us.

Pitfall trap location along Strawberry Creek. It’s getting ready to rain on us.

By the time I got back to the truck, literally everything was wet. Kip probably got the worst of it as he headed out to collect DNA samples of Pterostichus protractus from the forest right as the rain became a downpour. We were lucky the rest of the trip wasn’t like this. From here on out, the nights were clear (which made also made it cold) and the sky was filled with an amazing show of stars, just like Gretchen had  mentioned earlier.

Putting out traps near Gray Cliff.

Putting out traps near Gray Cliff.

Next post, up to the high country.

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About Kip Will

I'm an insect systematist with expertise in carabid beetles, who is always happiest in the bush.
This entry was posted in Entomology, Nevada Carabidae. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Nevada carabids: Part 3: Trap Day

  1. Pingback: Nevada Carabids: Part 4: An approach to Wheeler Peak | pterostichini

  2. Pingback: Nevada Carabids: Part 5: Death March to Dead Lake and Heading West | pterostichini

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