The evaluation of appropriate sampling methodologies is critical for accurately determining the distribution and status of herpetofaunal populations. We report the results of a year-long drift fence study, using multiple trap types (large pitfall traps, small pitfall traps and funnel traps), of a species-rich herpetofaunal community (59 species) surrounding an isolated wetland in the southeastern United States. Specifically, we determined the effects that timing, trap type and taxon had on capture rates of herpetofauna. We found that funnel traps captured the greatest number of herpetofaunal species, but a combination of funnel traps and large pitfall traps yielded the greatest number of individual captures due to complementary biases in capture efficiencies among herpetofaunal taxa. With little exception, small pitfall traps were relatively ineffective for sampling herpetofauna. We also found that the timing of drift fence monitoring affected herpetofaunal species accumulation rates but that seasonal effects were taxon-specific. Our study affirms that drift fences are exceptional tools for inventorying and monitoring diverse species and large numbers of herpetofauna and also demonstrates the important effects that season and taxon can have on capture rates. Therefore, we recommend a priori delineation of project goals and the use of multiple trap types with careful attention to the timing of drift fence monitoring to maximize sampling efficiency and minimize biases associated with data collection.
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