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University of Namibia (2007)

Termite species richness and composition within a semi-arid environment

Vilane Mavela Wilson

Titre : Termite species richness and composition within a semi-arid environment

Auteur : Vilane Mavela Wilson

Université de soutenance : University of Namibia

Grade : Master of Science 2007

Termite species assemblages were investigated in four sites under different land-use practices in semi-arid southern Swaziland between April and June of 2006. The four sites included an acacia savarmah, maize field, open grassland and woodland. The aim of the study was to determine differences in termite species richness and cbmposition as well as plant species diversity in habitats under different land-use practices. The study further tested the suitability of three standard methods of sampling termites within a semi-arid environment. Methods tested were : -the baiting method, pit method and standardized transect method (i.e. search method). A total of nine (9) termite species were found within the entire study namely : Ancistrotermes latinotus (Holgrem), Hodotermes mossambicus (Hagen), Lepidotermes mtwalwni (Fuller), Macrotermes natalensis (Haviland), A1acrotermes sp., A1acrotermes ukuzii (Fuller), Odontoternmes sp., Trinervitermes trinervoides (Sjosteclt), and Macrotermitinae sp. The maize field transect was the most species ri 0h with five species followed by the acacia savannah and open grassland with four species each and the woodland with three termite species. No sampling method recorded all taxa. There was a significant difference in the number of termite species recorded by each method and possible method combinations (H=17.0782, df=6, and taqular Chi-square values of 12.6 and 16.8 at 5% and 1% significance levels respectively). Odontotermes sp., Hodotermes mossambicus (Hagen), i\lfacrotermes natalensis (Haviland), and Macrotermes ukuzii (Fuller) were only detected by the search method while Lepidotermes mtwalumi (Fuller) was only detected by the bait method. The Odontotermes genera was recorded for the first time in Swaziland. Hodotermes mossambicus (Hagen) and Odontotermes sp. were only present within the acacia savatill1ah while Lepidotermes mtwalumi (Fuller) was only recorded in the maize field. J.. ;facrotermes natalensis (Haviland) was present only within the open grassland. Termite species composition differed between sampled plots of the same site and there was a tendency for similarities in termite species composition between plots of different sites. Plant species riclmess also differed among the study sites, the acacia savannah was the most species rich with 31 plant species followed by the woodland with 24 species, maize field 13 species and lastly the open grassland with 11 plant species. There was also a significant difference in plant species richness among sites (H=l l.597, df=3, P=0.009).


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