We compared the termite assemblages of different ecosystems in a humidity gradient. Three areas were sampled: (i) a humid montane forest; (ii) a hillside forest where shaded coffee (Coffea arabica Linnaeus, 1753) is cultivated; (iii) a seasonally dry forest (Caatinga). Active collection protocols were employed in each area during the dry and rainy seasons. The species were grouped according to their habitats and feeding habits. A total of 45 termite species belonging to 20 genera and three families were encountered. The termite fauna of the Caatinga was as rich and abundant as that of the humid forest areas, but it was distinct from it in species composition. Most termite species encountered in the montane forest were also found in the agro-ecological site, but some species were only found in the latter. The termite fauna of the Caatinga varied seasonally the most, with significantly reduced abundance during the dry period. When species richness, abundance, and species composition were considered together the climatic seasons were not found to significantly affect the termite faunas in any of the study areas. The numbers of encounters per feeding group and per habitat exploited did not differ among the different areas, or during the different seasons. Even in adjacent areas, the humidity gradient, as well as the vegetational characteristics, are reflected in differences in the termite fauna. Agro-ecological regimes can be considered viable alternatives to traditional methods of cultivation as they largely conserve the biodiversity found in non-modified environments.
This study surveyed the termite fauna in urban properties of the city of Recife, state of Pernambuco, northeastern Brazil. Six-hundred properties were inspected in search for termites or signs of their activity, such as abandoned nests, galleries on walls, and fecal pellets. Seven termite species, belonging to seven genera and three families (Kalotermitidae, Rhinotermitidae, and Termtidae) were found causing some type of damage. Nasutitermes corniger and Cryptotermes dudleyi were the most frequent species within buildings (82.4% and 9.5 %, respectively). Such species, along with Coptotermes gestroi, were responsible for the greatest damage recorded. With the exception of Cryptotermes dudleyi and Coptotermes gestroi, all of the species are native and relatively common in northeastern Brazil's Atlantic forest.
Coptotermes gestroi (Wasmann) é considerada uma das espécies mais destrutivas de cupins subterrâneos, por causar danos a edificações, à arborização urbana e a culturas. Uma alternativa para o controle desse inseto pode ser o uso de agentes biocontroladores, como os fungos entomopatogênicos. Isaria (Persoon) tem sido indicado no controle de térmitas subterrâneos, inclusive do gênero Coptotermes. Dessa forma, o presente trabalho teve como objetivo selecionar isolados de Isaria patogênicos ao cupim C. gestroi. Os insetos pulverizados com suspensões fúngicas de I. farinosa, I. fumosorosea e I. javanica foram avaliados diariamente para a determinação da mortalidade. Todos os isolados foram patogênicos, ocasionando mortalidade acima de 70%, e virulentos, apresentando uma sobrevivência média de 2,0 a 3,9 dias. Contudo, os isolados ESALQ-1205 de I. farinosa, ESALQ-1296 de I. fumosorosea e os isolados URM-4995 e URM-4993 de I. javanica mostraram-se mais virulentos. A CL50estimada para os isolados ESALQ-1205 de I. farinosa, URM-4995 de I. javanica e ESALQ-1296 de I. fumosorosea resultou em valores de 3,7 x 105, 1,4 x 106e 2,7 x 106conídios mL-1, respectivamente. Tais resultados confirmam a eficiência dos isolados testados sobre os operários de C. gestroi. No entanto, novos estudos são necessários para verificar a melhor forma de utilização, bem como a sua efetividade em campo.
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