Seasonal activity patterns of African savanna termites vary across a rainfall gradient

Davies, A.B., Eggleton, P., Van Rensburg, B.J. and Parr, C.L. (2015) Seasonal activity patterns of African savanna termites vary across a rainfall gradient. Insectes Sociaux, 62 2: 157-165. doi:10.1007/s00040-014-0386-y

Author Davies, A.B.
Eggleton, P.
Van Rensburg, B.J.
Parr, C.L.
Title Seasonal activity patterns of African savanna termites vary across a rainfall gradient
Journal name Insectes Sociaux   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1420-9098
Publication date 2015-05
Year available 2015
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1007/s00040-014-0386-y
Open Access Status
Volume 62
Issue 2
Start page 157
End page 165
Total pages 9
Place of publication Basel, Switzerland
Publisher Springer Basel AG
Collection year 2016
Formatted abstract
Seasonal variations in temperature and moisture are strong drivers of biological activity and diversity. Termites are an important insect group previously shown to respond to seasonal variation, but results are mixed with unclear patterns across habitat types. We investigated seasonal variation in termite species density, activity levels and assemblage composition across three seasons (wet, transitional and dry) and four savanna types across a rainfall gradient (450–900 mm year−1) in South Africa using cellulose baits. Termites responded to seasonality in all savannas investigated, with lower species density and activity levels during the dry season compared to the wet and transitional seasons. In the more arid sites (≤550 mm rainfall per year) activity levels were highest in the wet season, while at wetter sites (≥750 mm rainfall per year) the highest activity was recorded in the transitional season. Assemblage composition did not differ much between seasons across all sites, but differences in both composition and activity levels across seasons were more pronounced in wetter sites compared to drier ones. Our results demonstrate that seasonal patterns in termite diversity vary with mean annual rainfall, with larger variation in wetter habitats where climatic variation between seasons is greater.
Keyword Cellulose baits
Climatic variation
Mean annual rainfall
Soil organisms
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2016 Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
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