Evaluating effectiveness and cost of time-lapse triggered camera trapping techniques to detect terrestrial squamate diversity
Recent advancements in camera trap technology have allowed researchers to explore methodologies that are minimally invasive, and both time and cost efficient (Long et al. 2008; O’Connell et al. 2010; Gregory et al. 2014; Meek et al. 2014; Swinnen et al. 2014; Newey et al. 2015). The use of cameras for understanding the distribution and ecology of mammals is advanced; however, their utility for surveying other vertebrate fauna is mostly unknown (Ariefiandy et al. 2013; Welbourne 2013; Bennetts and Clements 2014; Welbourne et al. 2015). Triggering systems using active-infrared (AIR) or passive-infrared (PIR) sensors have shown some success in reptile research, but most implementations are species-specific (e.g., Bennett and Clements 2014). Camera traps using such trigger systems to gather information across poikilothermic taxa can be limited or inaccurate under different environmental conditions (Swann et al. 2010; Rovero et al. 2013). Many of the camera traps available today can be programmed to trigger over a scheduled time interval, without relying on the use of an infra-red trigger system. Here we present the results of a time-lapse triggered camera trapping technique used to detect diurnal and terrestrial squamate species in a long-leaf pine savannah ecosystem. To determine the feasibility, effectiveness, and cost of this technique, we also compare these data with traditional box trapping data collected from these same trapping locations the year before.