Bionomics of termite species in coconut farms of Rufiji district, Tanzania

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University of Dar es Salaam,
Termite species richness, evenness and abundance in Rufiji district remain poorly known at a time when biodiversity is being threatened by human activities. Termite distribution, abundance and species richness of Rufiji district were determined between August 2008 and December 2009 in cropland, grassland and forest habitats. The specific objective of the study was to study termite abundance, richness and evenness, as well as to assess the effect of seasonality on termite species richness. Another objective was to identify pest species in coconut nurseries. Termites were sampled along a transect line 200m long and 2m wide replicated twice in each of the three habitat types. Estimates of termite species richness, evenness and abundance were higher in each of three habitats during the wet season. During wet season a total of 14 genera and 2 genus species were sampled. A total of 26,149 individuals were recorded during wet season, 16,820 from cropland, and 4,622 from the forest and 4,707 from the grassland. Termite abundance was significantly higher in the cropland than in both the grassland and the forest habitat (F = 0.0427). Termite species richness was higher in the forest habitat than in other selected habitats but the difference was not significant. Comparison of termite functional groups was significantly different (% 2 = 0.02). Termite pest abundance and seed nut damage were positively correlated although the correlation was not significant (% = 7.815). Losses in coconut seedlings due to termite pests were highest during dry season. Macrotermes sp. was the main cause of the losses. This study provides baseline data on termite communities in Rufiji district. The results can be used for a further research, monitoring and developing sustainable conservation measures in the district.
Available in print form, East Africana Collection, Dr. Wilbert Chagula Library, Class mark (THS EAF QL529.26.T34M37)
Termites, Coconut farmers, Rufiji district, Tanzania
Materu, C L (2012) Bionomics of termite species in coconut farms of Rufiji district, Tanzania,Doctoral dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam. Dar es Salaam