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Sharing of termites (Blattodea: Isoptera) between sugarcane matrices and Atlantic Forest fragments in Northeast Brazil

Couto, Alane Ayana Vieira de Oliveira, Montes, Martín Alejandro, Chaves, Rozzanna Esther Cavalcanti Reis de Figueirêdo, Vasconcellos, Alexandre
Revista Brasileira de entomologia 2019 v.63 no.2 pp. 108-111
Blattodea, Isoptera, habitat fragmentation, plantations, soil properties, species richness, sugarcane, tropical forests, Brazil
The Atlantic Forest of South America is one of the most degraded tropical forests and the cultivation of sugarcane is considered one of the main causes. In humid forests termites stand out with regard to their abundance and functional importance. The present study aimed to compare termite assemblages of fragments of the Atlantic Forest with that of the sugarcane matrices that surround them. Collections were performed in two sugarcane plantations in Northeast Brazil. In each plantation a fragment of Atlantic Forest and an adjacent sugarcane field were sampled using a standardized termite sampling protocol. A total of 39 species and 302 encounters were recorded. Species richness, relative abundance and composition differed significantly between forests and the matrices, with the presence of exclusive species in each environment—25 in the forests and seven in the matrices. Soil feeding species of the subfamily Apicotermitinae and species of open areas were found in the matrices. There was a marked difference between the assemblages of the matrices, possibly due to soil characteristics. The majority of the species found in the matrices do not cause damage to the crop, but instead act in the processes of soil decomposition and formation, thereby contributing to increased productivity.