Treefalls gaps contribute to the habitat heterogeneity of tropical forest floors. Previous studies have shown that these gaps play an important role in plant and bird communities, however less is known about their role in arthropod communities. Using eight Malaise traps we investigated the difference in arthropod abundance of 19 taxonomic groups between gaps and understorey for 21 wk during the rainy season and 8 wk in the dry season on Barro Colorado Island, Panama. More (33.8%) arthropods were collected in gaps during the rainy season and 32.2% more in the understorey during the dry season. To assess the possible factors contributing to these differences we measured light, plant densities and young leaf densities, as indicators of abiotic factors and food resources for insect herbivores. Arthropod abundance was negatively correlated with light in the dry season. Thus, abiotic stress may explain the pattern of abundance in the dry season. While there was no correlation with light in the rainy season, predator abundance was positively correlated with herbivore abundance. The plant and young leaf density data suggest that there is significantly higher food availability for herbivores in gaps. Thus, less stressful abiotic conditions and more food resources may contribute to more herbivores followed by more predators in gaps during the rainy season.