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Diversity of termites in a young eucalypt plantation in the tropical forests of Kerala, India

  • R.V. Varma (a1) and P.R. Swaran (a1)

Information on termite assemblage in a young eucalypt plantation in Kerala was generated by running a single line transect and monthly sampling for 1 year. Through the transect sampling, 11 species were recorded under two families and four subfamilies. The subfamily Macrotermitinae dominated with eight species while the other three subfamilies were represented by a single species each. A temporal pattern of abundance was observed for the different active foraging species of termites in the monthly sampling. During April–November, a single species, Odontotermes obesus (Rambur), was the most abundant. During December–January, Microcerotermes fletcheri Holmgren & Holmgren was dominant, while Odontotermes feae (Wasmann) dominated during February and March. Rainfall was found to have a negative influence on the diversity of the active/foraging species of termites. Among the 14 species of termites collected, only four were found attacking eucalypt seedlings. Of the total termite samples collected, 40% belonged to the single species O. obesus, which was the major pest species representing 12 out of the 18 recorded incidences of termites feeding on roots of eucalypt seedlings. Among the species recorded, one was a new species and two were new records for Kerala State. The large number of non-pest species of termites indicates the beneficial role of these termites as efficient decomposers.

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International Journal of Tropical Insect Science
  • ISSN: 1742-7584
  • EISSN: 1742-7592
  • URL: /core/journals/international-journal-of-tropical-insect-science
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