Subterranean Termites of a University Environment in Port Harcourt, Nigeria

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C. Wekhe
A. P. Ugbomeh
N. Ebere
D. D. S. Bawo

Abstract

Termites are diverse, ubiquitous and abundant in tropical ecosystems and are major examples of soil-dwelling ecosystem service providers that influence the ecosystem functioning by physically altering their biotic and abiotic surroundings. With increasing development in the environment, there is a gradual loss of their habitat. This study was carried out to determine the subterranean termite species in Rivers State University campus and relate the species and prevalence to their soil types. The study area was divided into 10 zones and from each zone 3 stations were selected randomly for sampling. Samples were collected in January and February 2018. Samples were taken from available mounds and soil in each station and termites were sorted, identified and counted. The temperature, organic content, pH, soil particle analysis and moisture content were determined for the soil samples. Five termite species from two families were identified;Termitidae: Amitermes spp1, Amitermes spp2, and Globitermes spp; Macrotermitidae: Macrotermes gilvusand another Macrotermes spp. The Amitermes spp was the most abundant as it was found in all 10 zones, followed by Macrotermes spp and then the Globitermes spp being the least abundant. Termite abundance, moisture content and soil type were significantly different in the 10 zones (p < 0.05). Total Organic Content was negatively correlated with Macrotermes spp. The Amitermes were more abundant in residential areas as they are wood eating termites suggesting that most destructive aspect of termite behaviour on residential areas may be perpetuated by the Amitermes species. The Macrotermes spp were found only in cultivated areas and from soil with higher percentage of clay, and they are basically soil feeders. M. gilvus and Macrotermes spp were seen in reddish mounds with fresh soil at the peak (showing termite activity) giving it a cone shape whereas the mound Globitermes spp was black, no fresh soil at the peak and had a circular shape. Amitermes was found in abandoned reddish Macrotermes mounds in residential areas. This study has provided some information on the termites in the University community as their habitat is gradually being destroyed with new buildings resulting in biodiversity loss. Moisture and TOC appeared to affect abundance.

Keywords:
Termites, subterranean, Rivers State University, macrotermes, amitermes, globitermes

Article Details

How to Cite
Wekhe, C., Ugbomeh, A. P., Ebere, N., & Bawo, D. D. S. (2019). Subterranean Termites of a University Environment in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. Asian Journal of Biology, 8(1), 1-10. https://doi.org/10.9734/ajob/2019/v8i130052
Section
Original Research Article