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Caterpillars Count!

Caterpillars Count!

Using a Paper Datasheet

If you do not have access to a mobile device, you can record your observations using the Foliage Survey Datasheet.
  1. Start by filling in all information the top of the datasheet (SITE NAME, DATE, SURVEY TYPE (beat sheet/visual), OBSERVER name, TEMPERATURE and any NOTES about the site (e.g. if it has recently rained and all of the leaves on the survey tree are very wet.).
  2. TIME: Every time you start a new survey, enter the time.
  3. SURVEY CODE: Record the 2- or 3-letter survey location code found on the branch tag.
  4. HERBIVORY: Give your 50-leaf sample an herbivory score based on how much leaf damage there is present. Herbivory scores are as follows: 0 - none, 1 - trace (<5%), 2 - light (5-10%), 3 – moderate (10-25%), 4 - heavy (>25%). If you summed all of the observed leaf holes together and were able to cover 5 average leaves, that would be 10%. If leaf holes only sum to about 2 average leaves worth, that would be 4%, etc.
  5. LEAF COUNT: If using the beat sheet method, estimate the number of leaves on your survey branch and record the leaf count. Leave blank if conducting visual surveys.
  6. LEAF LENGTH: Record the length of a typical leaf for your survey branch. Use the ruler at the bottom of the datasheet to measure.
  7. ARTHROPOD GROUP: When you find an arthropod, record the group or Order to which it belongs (e.g., beetle, caterpillar, fly, etc). Note, you will enter a separate record for each different combination of arthropod group and size you encounter. For example, if you conducted a survey and saw 5 ants, four of which were 3 mm and one of which was 10 mm, you would fill out two separate observation records: 1 for the ants of size 3 mm, and 1 for the ant of size 10 mm. If you are not sure what type of arthropod you observed, or if you are deciding between two orders, you may write "UNIDENTIFIED" and then describe any relevant aspects of its appearance in the NOTES section. Make sure to include key features, so that it may be identified later.
  8. LENGTH: Estimate the body length of the arthropod to the nearest millimeter, not counting antennae or legs that extend out in front or behind.
  9. Record the number of arthropods of that specific type and length that were found.
  10. NOTES: Record any notes about Notes, e.g. caterpillar features: (H)airy, leaf (R)oll, silk (T)ent. If you're not sure how to identify these features, please review our Conduct a Survey page.
  11. IMPORTANT! If you searched 50 leaves and did not find a single arthropod, we still want you to record that a survey was done! Write "NONE" under Order. Otherwise, we will never know the difference between a survey that was never conducted, versus a survey with 0 abundance. Write 0 for the Length and Count as well.
  12. REPEAT this method for each survey tree at your site.
  13. After completing your surveys, enter your data through our website.