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Neotropical Entomology

Print version ISSN 1519-566X

Abstract

MIRANDA, Carmélia S.; VASCONCELLOS, Alexandre  and  BANDEIRA, Adelmar G.. Termites in sugar cane in Northeast Brazil: ecological aspects and pest status. Neotrop. Entomol. [online]. 2004, vol.33, n.2, pp. 237-241. ISSN 1519-566X.  http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1519-566X2004000200015.

The spatial distribution, abundance, and feeding habits of termites in a sugar cane plantation in Northeast Brazil were studied, and based on these ecological parameters, the pest status of the species was evaluated. Four species were found: Amitermes nordestinus Mélo & Fontes, Cylindrotermes nordenskioeldi Holmgren, Nasutitermes coxipoensis (Holmgren) and Syntermes nanus Constantino, which we reported by the first time in association to sugar cane. The abundance and spatial distribution (vertical and horizontal) of the termites were influenced mainly by the plant root biomass and soil organic matter. C. nordenskioeldi is harmful to sugar cane, A. nordestinus is a potential pest, while N. coxipoensis and S. nanus are not potential pests. The importance of termites for maintaining the fertility, aeration and porosity of tropical soils is an evidence that basic investigations on reproduction biology and population dynamics of C. nordenskioeldi and A. nordestinus must be encouraged aiming to develop pest control agents and species-specific management techniques.

Keywords : Isoptera; species richness; abundance; spatial distribution; feeding habit.

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