Did you Know?
  • The Lappet-faced Vulture, a regular winter visitor to the DDCR, has a wingspan of 2.5-3 metres (8-10 feet)

Arthropod Diversity in Ghaf Groves at the DDCR

Project Summary

Arthropods are frequently sampled using a passive collection method called malaise trap. Such a trap can collect both flying, crawling, walking and jumping arthropods. A similar trap is used for sampling arthropods aerially (e.g. in trees) called a SLAM (Sea Land Air Malaise). A preliminary study during October 30th 2017 till April 3rd 2018 at the DDCR in a Ghaf Grove showed clear differences in arthropod diversity and abundance between samples collected using a malaise trap and SLAM trap. The proposed study will ascertain which arthropods are found at elevation within a tree in comparison to those that are found from the ground upwards.

Research Objectives

  • Seasonal arthropod diversity within DDCR ghaf groves.
  • Arthropod faunal difference collected by the two different methods (malaise and SLAM trap).
  • Arthropod micro-habitat utilization within a ghaf tree.
  • Suitability and refinement of the use of malaise and SLAM traps in a desert ecosystem.


For direct comparison of data, two malaise traps and SLAM traps will be set up, one set in the ghaf grove situated in the Eastern region of the DDCR and the other in the Western region ghaf grove. The traps will be set up on October 2nd 2018 and will remain in situ for one year, with a possibility of extending this time period, depending on sampling success. Once operational, the sample bottles are exchanged every two weeks. Samples are passively collected into 70% ethanol and subsequently stored in containers with the same concentration. Samples are sorted in the lab into order, family, genus and species if possible, and where necessary, samples will be sent to a network of experts to help with identification. For population studies, individual species (whether identified or not) will be counted. Comparison will be drawn between taxa found in each trap and further literature review will take place to ascertain habitat requirements/feeding habits. For species where this information is not known, further research plans will be made.

Expected Outcomes

  • Species lists.
  • Data reflecting differences in arthropod populations from malaise and SLAM traps in a ghaf grove.
  • Data collection on the efficacy of these types of traps in a desert ecosystem.
  • Peer-reviewed journal publication; conference poster/presentation